Monday, 25 September 2017 17:09

A new approach to ultrafast light pulses

Unusual fluorescent materials could be used for rapid light-based communications systems.

MIT FastLight Emit 1 Daily
In this image, light strikes a molecular lattice deposited on a metal substrate. The molecules can quickly exchange energy with the metal below, a mechanism that leads to a much faster response time for the emission of fluorescent light from the lattice. Courtesy of the researchers

Two-dimensional materials called molecular aggregates are very effective light emitters that work on a different principle than typical organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) or quantum dots. But their potential as components for new kinds of optoelectronic devices has been limited by their relatively slow response time. Now, researchers at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and Northeastern University have found a way to overcome that limitation, potentially opening up a variety of applications for these materials.

The findings are described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in a paper by MIT associate professor of mechanical engineering Nicholas X. Fang, postdocs Qing Hu and Dafei Jin, and five others.

The key to enhancing the response time of these 2-D molecular aggregates (2DMA), Fang and his team found, is to couple that material with a thin layer of a metal such as silver. The interaction between the 2DMA and the metal that is just a few nanometers away boosts the speed of the material’s light pulses more than tenfold. 

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David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
Sept. 18, 2017

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First “center of excellence” for new MIT.nano facility will focus on novel detectors and imaging systems.

MIT SenseNano 02 Spencer Web
A discussion featured some of the speakers from the day-long SENSE.nano conference: [left to right] Juejun Hu, associate professor of materials science and engineering; Polina Anikeeva, associate professor of materials science and engineering; Max Shulaker, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Brian Anthony, principal research scientist in mechanical engineering and co-leader of SENSE.nano; and Vladimir Bulovic, associate dean for engineering and professor of emerging technology. Photo, Michael D. Spencer.

In anticipation of the official opening of the new MIT.nano building — which will house some of the world’s leading facilities supporting research in nanoscience and nanotechnology — MIT officially launched a new “center of excellence” called SENSE.nano, which is dedicated to pushing the frontiers of research in sensing technologies.

Like the new building, which is slated to open a year from now, SENSE.nano is an endeavor that cuts across the divisions of departments, labs, and schools, to encompass research in areas including chemistry, physics, materials science, electronics, computer science, biology, mechanical engineering, and more. Faculty members from many of these areas spoke about their research during a daylong conference on May 25 that marked the official launch of the new center.

Introducing the event, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said that “[MIT.nano] will create opportunities for research and collaboration for more than half our current faculty, and 67 percent of those recently tenured. In fact, we expect that it will serve — and serve to inspire – more than 2,000 people across our campus, from all five MIT schools, and many more from beyond our walls.”

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David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
June 1, 2017

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New center for development of high-tech fibers and fabrics opens headquarters, unveils two products ready for commercialization.

MIT AFFOA Web
Marty Ellis, of Inman Mills in South Carolina, checks a machine manufacturing fabric developed through AFFOA. Photo, courtesy of AFFOA.

Just over a year after its funding award, a new center for the development and commercialization of advanced fabrics officially opened its headquarters June 19 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will be unveiling the first two advanced fabric products to be commercialized from the center’s work.

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is a public-private partnership, part of Manufacturing USA, that is working to develop and introduce U.S.-made high-tech fabrics that provide services such as health monitoring, communications, and dynamic design. In the process, AFFOA aims to facilitate economic growth through U.S. fiber and fabric manufacturing.

AFFOA’s national headquarters will open today, with an event featuring Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics James MacStravic, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, and AFFOA CEO Yoel Fink. Sample versions of one of the center’s new products, a programmable backpack made of advanced fabric produced in North and South Carolina, will be distributed to attendees at the opening.

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David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
June 19, 2017

Published in Newsletter Articles
Platform may be used to explore avenues for quantum computing.
MIT Graphene Semiconductors Web
MIT physicists have found that when a flake of graphene is sandwiched between superconductors, its electronic state changes dramatically, inheriting some of those materials’ superconducting qualities. Pictured is the experimental concept and device schematic.

In normal conductive materials such as silver and copper, electric current flows with varying degrees of resistance, in the form of individual electrons that ping-pong off defects, dissipating energy as they go. Superconductors, by contrast, are so named for their remarkable ability to conduct electricity without resistance, by means of electrons that pair up and move through a material as one, generating no friction.

Now MIT physicists have found that a flake of graphene, when brought in close proximity with two superconducting materials, can inherit some of those materials’ superconducting qualities. As graphene is sandwiched between superconductors, its electronic state changes dramatically, even at its center.

The researchers found that graphene’s electrons, formerly behaving as individual, scattering particles, instead pair up in “Andreev states” — a fundamental electronic configuration that allows a conventional, nonsuperconducting material to carry a “supercurrent,” an electric current that flows without dissipating energy. Their findings, published in Nature Physics, are the first investigation of Andreev states due to superconductivity’s “proximity effect” in a two-dimensional material such as graphene.

Down the road, the researchers’ graphene platform may be used to explore exotic particles, such as Majorana fermions, which are thought to arise from Andreev states and may be key particles for building powerful, error-proof quantum computers.

“There is a huge effort in the condensed physics community to look for exotic quantum electronic states,” says lead author Landry Bretheau, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Physics. “In particular, new particles called Majorana fermions are predicted to emerge in graphene that is connected to superconducting electrodes and exposed to large magnetic fields. Our experiment is promising, as we are unifying some of these ingredients.”

Landry’s MIT co-authors are postdoc Joel I-Jan Wang, visiting student Riccardo Pisoni, and associate professor of physics Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, along with Kenji Watanabe and Takashi Taniguchi of the National Institute for Materials Science, in Japan.

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Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
May 4, 2017

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Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future.

MIT Geoffrey Beach A1 Brauer Web
“There are many thousands of combinations of materials and interfaces that we can create,” says associate professor Geoffrey Beach. “So with this wealth of material structures, rather than relying on the few materials that nature has given us, we can now design materials and their magnetic properties to exhibit the characteristics that we want.” Photo, M. Scott Brauer

Geoffrey Beach has been tinkering and building things most of his life, including some 50 model rockets that he built and launched while in high school in Oklahoma. But it wasn’t until his undergraduate studies in physics that he zeroed in on the topic that has dominated his research ever since: the study of magnetism and how to control it.

In his work, Beach combines the deep, theoretical understanding of a physicist with an engineer’s passion for building and refining the devices needed to carry out his investigations.

“In high school and college, I was always interested in physics,” says Beach, who is an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where he earned tenure in 2015. He received his bachelor’s degree from Caltech, where his interest in magnetism first came into focus.

During those college years studying physics, “everyone there wanted to work on gravity,” he says. “I liked the theoretical aspect, but I’ve always been a very hands-on person. I always liked to build things, and I really like to see how things work.”

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David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
April 24, 2017

Published in Newsletter Articles
Friday, 21 April 2017 17:28

Inside MIT.nano

The MIT Corporation tours the state-of-the-art research facility taking shape in the heart of campus. 

MIT nano tour van Vliet 2017 Belcher Web
MIT Professor Krystyn Van Vliet [center] describes how MIT.nano clean rooms will provide a precisely controlled environment. MIT Corporation members Gregory Turner [second-from-left] and Madeleine Gaut  [third-from-left] listen along with Anuradha Agarwal [fourth-from-left], a principal research scientist at the MIT Microphotonics Center. Photo, Jake Belcher

On a recent evening, Cathrin Stickney stood marveling at the stillness of the custom-designed imaging suites in the underground level of MIT.nano — the environmentally quietest space on campus. Laudably ultra-low vibrations, ultra-low electromagnetic interference, and acoustically silent. All in a building that, like most of the rest of MIT, sits on a century-old landfill built on swampland.

“It’s more than difficult to pull that off. It’s architecturally amazing,” Stickney, a successful entrepreneur and former architect, said. Equipped with a neon safety vest and clear safety glasses, Stickney was on site to learn more about a building that embodies one of the largest research investments in MIT history.

The leaders of MIT.nano pulled out all the stops during the first-ever tour of the 214,000 gross-square-foot research facility taking shape in the heart of MIT campus, just steps from the Infinite Corridor. The tightly choreographed public viewing involved safely navigating 60 guests, mostly members of the MIT Corporation, through what is still an active construction site.

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are driving some of the most important innovations today, in health care, energy, computing — almost every field of engineering and science. A facility that allows MIT faculty and students to play a role in these coming changes is of the Institute’s highest priority, says President L. Rafael Reif, who was along for the tour. As he has said: “Even big problems have answers if you have your hands on the right tools.”

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Meg Murphy | School of Engineering
April 7, 2017

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“Quantum dots” that emit infrared light enable highly detailed images of internal body structures. 

MIT Quantum Dot Web
Researchers have found a way to make tiny particles that can be injected into the body, where they emit short-wave infrared light. The advance may open up a new way of making detailed images of internal body structures such as fine networks of blood vessels. Image, Bawendi Group at MIT

For certain frequencies of short-wave infrared light, most biological tissues are nearly as transparent as glass. Now, researchers have made tiny particles that can be injected into the body, where they emit those penetrating frequencies. The advance may provide a new way of making detailed images of internal body structures such as fine networks of blood vessels.

The new findings, based on the use of light-emitting particles called quantum dots, is described in a paper in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, by MIT research scientist Oliver Bruns, recent graduate Thomas Bischof PhD ’15, professor of chemistry Moungi Bawendi, and 21 others.

Near-infrared imaging for research on biological tissues, with wavelengths between 700 and 900 nanometers (billionths of a meter), is widely used, but wavelengths of around 1,000 to 2,000 nanometers have the potential to provide even better results, because body tissues are more transparent to that light. “We knew that this imaging mode would be better” than existing methods, Bruns explains, “but we were lacking high-quality emitters” — that is, light-emitting materials that could produce these precise wavelengths.

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David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
April 10, 2017

 

Published in Newsletter Articles
Friday, 21 April 2017 15:16

Newsletter, April 2017

MIT Materials News that Matters
April 2017
Materials Processing Center at MIT
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139Youtube twitter google plusfacebook
617-253-517
Email:mpc@mit.edu

Summer Scholars embrace engineering challenges 

Diverse group seeks MIT laboratory internship experiences in materials science, photonics, energy and biomedical applications.

2017 Summer Scholars are [l-r, top row] Alejandro Aponte, Stephanie E. Bauman, Lucia G. Brunel, Richard B. (Ben) Canty, Stuart R. Daudlin, [middle row] Amrita (Amy) Duggal, Kaila N. Holloway, Saleem Iqbal, Ryan N. Kosciolek, [bottom row] Gaetana H. Mi

This year's incoming Summer Scholars hope to probe the range of materials science engineering challenges for nanoscale applications in medicine, electronics and photonics, while at the same time pinpointing their future graduate school research goals.

 "This REU [Research Experience for Undergraduates] will expose me to topics and concepts that I will be able to apply to my advanced classes, as well as give me hands on experience in a lab environment. I'm also hoping that it will help me determine a direction for graduate school," says Stephanie E. Bauman, a University of South Florida sophomore, who also is a U.S. Army Reserve Blackhawk Medical Evacuation pilot. 

Read more.

Inside MIT.nano

The MIT Corporation tours the state-of-the-art research facility taking shape in the heart of campus.

MIT Professor Krystyn Van Vliet [center] describes how MIT.nano clean rooms will provide a precisely controlled environment. MIT Corporation members [second-from-left to right] Gregory Turner, Madeleine Gaut, and Anuradha Agarwal listen. Jake Belcher PhotoMIT Professor Krystyn Van Vliet [center] describes how MIT.nano clean rooms will provide a precisely controlled environment. MIT Corporation members [second-from-left to right] Gregory Turner and Madeleine Gaut listen along with Anuradha Agarwal, a principal research scientist at the MIT Microphotonics Center. Photo, Jake Belcher.

On a recent evening, Cathrin Stickney stood marveling at the stillness of the custom-designed imaging suites in the underground level of MIT.nano - the environmentally quietest space on campus. Laudably ultra-low vibrations, ultra-low electromagnetic interference, and acoustically silent. All in a building that, like most of the rest of MIT, sits on a century-old landfill built on swampland."It's more than difficult to pull that off. It's architecturally amazing," Stickney, a successful entrepreneur and former architect, said. Equipped with a neon safety vest and clear safety glasses, Stickney was on site to learn more about a building that embodies one of the largest research investments in MIT history.

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are driving some of the most important innovations today in almost every field of engineering and science. 

Read more.

Stretching the boundaries
of neural implants

Rubbery, multifunctional fibers could be used to study spinal cord neurons and potentially restore function.

Researchers have developed a rubber-like fiber, shown here, that can flex and stretch while simultaneously delivering both optical impulses, for optoelectronic stimulation, and electrical connections, for stimulation and monitoring. Video, Chi (Alice) Lu and Seongjun Park

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In Other News

Researchers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance.

"Ironing out" graphene improves conductivity

MIT researchers find a way to  make graphene with fewer  wrinkles and improve how  electrons flow across wafers.

Read more.

Researchers discovered a way to make tiny particles that can be injected into the body, where they emit short-wave infrared light. The advance may open a new way of making detailed images of internal body structures such as fine networks of blood vessels.

Nanoparticles aid  biological imaging

 "Quantum dots" that emit  infrared light enable highly  detailed images of internal body  structures.

Read more.

 

MIT Professor Martin Bazant will use funding from Toyota Research Institute to leverage a nanoscale visualization technique that revealed, for the first time, how lithium-ion particles charge and discharge in real time (as simulated here). Bazant image

 

Multi-university effort  will advance materials, transform mobility 

With support from the Toyota  Research Institute, eight MIT  researchers will focus on  design principles for next-generation energy storage. 

Read more.

There are many thousands of combinations of materials and interfaces that we can create__ says MIT associate professor Geoffrey Beach.

 

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism

Associate Professor of  Materials Science and Engineering works on the  magnetic memory of the future. 

Read more.

Join the MPC Collegium

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  • Facilitation of on-campus meetings
  • Access to Collegium member-only briefing materials
  • Representation on the MPC External Advisory Board
  • Facilitation of customized student internships
  • Medium and long-term on-campus corporate staff visits

For more information, contact Mark Beals at 617-253-2129 or mbeals@mit.edu

About MPC

The goals of the Materials Processing Center are to unite the materials research community at MIT and to enhance Institute-industry interactions. Collaboration on research ventures, technology transfer, continuing education of industry personnel, and communication among industrial and governmental entities are our priorities. The MPC Industry Collegium is a major vehicle for this collaboration. The MPC sponsors seminars and workshops, as well as a summer internship for talented undergraduates from universities across the U.S. We encourage interdisciplinary research collaborations and provide funds management assistance to faculty.

MIT, Materials Processing Center
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
617-253-5179
http://mpc-www.mit.edu

Email: mpc@mit.edu

 

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New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers.

MIT Single Domain Web
Researchers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.

From an electron’s point of view, graphene must be a hair-raising thrill ride. For years, scientists have observed that electrons can blitz through graphene at velocities approaching the speed of light, far faster than they can travel through silicon and other semiconducting materials.

Graphene, therefore, has been touted as a promising successor to silicon, with the potential to enable faster, more efficient electronic and photonic devices.

But manufacturing pristine graphene — a single, perfectly flat, ultrathin sheet of carbon atoms, precisely aligned and linked together like chickenwire — is extremely difficult. Conventional fabrication processes often generate wrinkles, which can derail an electron’s bullet-train journey, significantly limiting graphene’s electrical performance.

Now engineers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers tested its electrical conductivity. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that their techniques successfully produce wafer-scale, “single-domain” graphene — single layers of graphene that are uniform in both atomic arrangement and electronic performance.

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Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
April 3, 2017

 

Published in Daily News
Monday, 20 March 2017 13:21

Mapping the effects of crystal defects

Study sheds light on interactions that change the way heat and electricity move through microchips.

MIT Measuring Dislocation Web
Atomic irregularities in crystals, known as dislocations, are common defects, and they affect how heat dissipates through a silicon microchip or how well current flows through a silicon solar panel. New MIT research offers insights into how these crystal dislocations affect electrical and heat transport through crystals, at a microscopic, quantum mechanical level. The MIT team has found a new mathematical approach using a new quasiparticle they formulated called a “dislon,” which is a quantized version of a dislocation.

New research offers insights into how crystal dislocations — a common type of defect in materials — can affect electrical and heat transport through crystals, at a microscopic, quantum mechanical level.

Dislocations in crystals are places where the orderly three-dimensional structure of a crystal lattice — whose arrangement of atoms repeats with exactly the same spacing — is disrupted. The effect is as if a knife had sliced through the crystal and then the pieces were stuck back together, askew from their original positions. These defects have a strong effect on phonons, the modes of lattice vibration that play a role in the thermal and electrical properties of the crystals through which they travel. But a precise understanding of the mechanism of the dislocation-phonon interaction has been elusive and controversial, which has slowed progress toward using dislocations to tailor the thermal properties of materials.

A team at MIT has been able to learn important details about how those interactions work, which could inform future efforts to develop thermoelectric devices and other electronic systems. The findings are reported in the journal Nano Letters, in a paper co-authored by postdoc Mingda Li, Department of Mechanical Engineering head Professor Gang Chen, the late Institute Professor Emerita Mildred Dresselhaus, and five others.

Dislocations — which Li describes as “atomic irregularities in a regular crystal” — are very common defects in crystals, and they affect, for example, how heat dissipates through a silicon microchip or how well current flows through a silicon solar panel.

Read more at the MIT News Office.

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David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
March 14, 2017

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