Newsletter, March 2015

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    MIT Materials News that Matters
    March 2015
     
     
    Materials Processing Center at MIT
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    Fostering U.S.-Russia Energy Innovation
    Skoltech Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage brings together researchers from MIT, Moscow State University and Skolkovo Institute to develop advanced batteries and fuel cells.
     
     MIT Professor Carl V. Thompson is co-director of the Skoltech Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage .
    MIT Professor Carl V. Thompson is co-director of the Skoltech Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage.

     

    Lithium ion batteries are popular for powering portable electronic devices but remain expensive for larger applications such as all-electric vehicles. "All the technology that wows us, all the portability that we have quickly gotten used to, is based on lithium ion batteries. There is an intense interest in still higher capacity batteries," says Carl V. Thompson, co-director of the Skoltech Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage (CEES).Research into lithium ion batteries is a key area for CEES, which is a partnership between the MIT Materials Processing Center and Lomonosov Moscow State University under the umbrella of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech). "It's a great team and we're making rapid progress. We've got some good collaborations going on. Things are up and running at Skoltech, and we're enthusiastic about the future," Thompson says. 

    Read more. 

     
    New Faculty Introduction: Dr. Juejun Hu

    Bendable Glass Devices: MIT assistant professor melds fundamental materials science, new device designs, to enable flexible photonics and other applications.

    MIT Assistant Professor Juejun Hu melds fundamental materials science, new device designs, to enable flexible photonics and other applications.
    MIT Assistant Professor Juejun Hu is developing new materials for integrated photonics, enabling flexibility, high transparency and low light loss. 
     
    A special class of glass materials known as chalcogenide glasses holds promise for speeding integration of photonic and electronic devices with functions as diverse as data transfer and chemical sensing. Dr. Juejun "JJ" Hu, Merton C. Flemings Assistant Professor in Materials Science & Engineering, is finding new ways to deploy these glasses with surprising flexibility.

    Like regular glass, chalcogenide glasses are brittle, but Hu and colleagues developed a way to embed very thin glass photonic devices such as flexible microdisk resonators and waveguides in alternating layers of soft and stiff polymers. Their flexible plastic device sustained being bent thousands of times in a fatigue test without failing. And it demonstrated record optical performance.
     
     
    IN OTHER NEWS
    Analysis sees many pathways for solar power
     
    Illustration shows the MIT team's proposed scheme for comparing different photovoltaic materials, based on the complexity of their basic molecular structure.
    Illustration shows the MIT team's proposed scheme for comparing different photovoltaic materials, based on the complexity of their basic molecular structure.
     

    David L. Chandler

    MIT News Office

    In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, MIT researchers say that it is "one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity."

    Use of solar photovoltaics has been growing at a phenomenal rate: Worldwide installed capacity has seen sustained growth averaging 43 percent per year since 2000. To evaluate the prospects for sustaining such growth, the MIT researchers look at possible constraints on materials availability, and propose a system for evaluating the many competing approaches to improved solar-cell performance.

    Read more.

    Magnetic Brain Stimulation
     
    Technique could yield long-lasting localized brain tissue stimulation without external connections.
    Images show calcium ion influx into neurons as a result of magnetothermal excitation with alternating magnetic fields in the presence of magnetic nanoparticles.  Courtesy of the researchers.
    Images show calcium ion influx into neurons as a result of magnetothermal excitation with alternating magnetic fields in the presence of magnetic nanoparticles. Courtesy of the researchers.

    Researchers at MIT have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles - a technique allowing direct stimulation of neurons, which could be an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases, without the need for implants or external connections.

    The research, conducted by Polina Anikeeva, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, graduate student Ritchie Chen, and three others, has been published in the journal Science.

    Read more. 

    Michael Stonebraker Wins Turing Award
    CSAIL researcher Michael Stonebraker, who revolutionized database management systems and founded multiple companies, has won the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM) A.M. Turning Award., Photo, M. Scott Brauer
      Photo: M. Scott Brauer

     CSAIL researcher  invented core  database concepts,  turned many into  companies.

     Read more. 

    Upcoming Events
     
    Conversations on Apollo with Michael Collins (Gemini X, Apollo XI) - MIT ID Only), Bldg. 32-123, 1-3 pm, April 1, 2015. 

    2015 MRS Spring Meeting & ExhibitApril 6-10, 2015  San Francisco, Calif.
    Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation IdeaStream 2015, April 8, 2015, Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, Mass.

    Cambridge Science Festival, April 17-26, 2015.
     
    Materials Day Symposium and Poster Session, Oct. 14, 2015. 
     
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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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