Newsletter, June 2015

     
    MIT Materials News that Matters
    June 2015
     
     
    Materials Processing Center at MIT
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    Faculty Highlight: Elsa Olivetti 
    Combining cost and environmental data to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases.
     
    Elsa Olivetti, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, applied life cycle analysis to laptop computer manufacturing and found that one particular step, making the display can be a key driver of pollution.  Photo, Denis Paiste
    Elsa Olivetti, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, applied life cycle analysis to laptop computer manufacturing and found that one particular step, making the display can be a key driver of pollution.  

    Complex global manufacturing and shipping networks make it difficult for producers to choose materials and methods for cutting emissions and waste, whether for aluminum, paper or plastic. Elsa Olivetti, Thomas Lord Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, is developing models that combine cost and environmental data to guide choices for materials substitution and processing changes.

    "We try to provide robust answers to questions of materials and technology choice by modeling and understanding the interdependencies within a market, including resource and energy use in supply chains," says Olivetti. Underlying this work on the environmental and economic effectiveness of a material choice is a theme of reducing greenhouse emissions.

    Working with colleagues at MIT and elsewhere, Olivetti has tackled sustainability issues for biodiesel, aluminum, plastics and computers from laptops to photonics integration.    Read more. 

    Putting the Pieces Together
    Summer interns are learning research skills while helping to make progress in materials, drug delivery and energy in MIT labs.
     
    Twelve undergraduate Summer Scholars are working as interns in MIT labs from June 7 to Aug. 8, 2015.
    Twelve undergraduate Summer Scholars are working as interns in MIT labs from June 7 to Aug. 8, 2015.

    From wet chemistry to computer simulations, this year's MPC-CMSE Summer Scholars are engaged in MIT research projects targeting stronger materials, more efficient drug delivery and catalysts for biofuel production. 

    "I'm really interested in putting the molecular pieces together to make a functional drug delivery mechanism," says Hope College chemistry major Lisa Savagian, who is working this summer in the lab of Paula T. Hammond, David H. Koch Professor in Engineering. Her project involves synthesizing layer-by-layer films with gold nanorods that release a drug when exposed to near infrared light.

    The 12 college interns were selected from among 156 applicants for the program run jointly by the Materials Processing Center and the Center for Materials Science and Engineering.

    Read more.

    Silicon Photonics Meets the Foundry
    Lionel Kimerling, Rajeev Ram and other MIT researchers explore practical ways to bring optical interconnection towards and directly onto chips.

    Chips integrating germanium lasers. In 2010, Professor Kimerling and his colleagues demonstrated the first such lasers that can produce wavelengths of light useful for optical communication and operate at room temperature.
    Chips integrating germanium lasers. In 2010, Professor Kimerling and his colleagues demonstrated the first such lasers that can produce wavelengths of light useful for optical communication and operate at room temperature.

    Eric Bender

    MIT Industrial Liaison Program Advances in microprocessors have transferred the computation bottleneck away from CPUs to better communications between components. That trend is driving the advance into optical interconnection of components, now moving from systems to boards to chip packages to chips themselves.


    A related issue with I/O-intensive applications such as server farms is the energy consumption required to transport bits of data around. Using photonics technology for I/O components can both improve performance and reduce energy consumption.But to be commercially viable these photonic I/O devices must leverage the vast existing silicon infrastructure and integrate with silicon as much as possible. That means these components can't directly follow the spectacular successes of the optical fiber systems that run the Internet, cautions Lionel Kimerling, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the MIT Microphotonics Center. 

    Read more.

    Cutting lithium-ion battery making costs by half

    A pilot manufacturing plant at 24M's headquarters in Cambridge has produced thousands of test batteries to demonstrate the efficiency of the new design. Courtesy of 24M
    A pilot manufacturing plant at 24M's headquarters in Cambridge has produced thousands of test batteries to demonstrate the efficiency of the new design. Courtesy of 24M

    David L. Chandler

    MIT News Office

    An advanced manufacturing approach for lithium-ion batteries, developed by researchers at MIT and at a spinoff company called 24M, promises to significantly slash the cost of the most widely used type of rechargeable batteries while also improving their performance and making them easier to recycle.

    "We've reinvented the process," says Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Ceramics at MIT and a co-founder of 24M.

    The new process is based on a concept developed five years ago by Chiang and colleagues including W. Craig Carter, the POSCO Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. In this so-called "flow battery," the electrodes are suspensions of tiny particles carried by a liquid and pumped through various compartments of the battery. The new battery design is a hybrid between flow batteries and conventional solid ones.

    Read more. 

    IN OTHER NEWS
     
     
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    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.

     

      

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