Newsletter May, 2014

    MIT Materials News that Matters

    May 2014
    Materials Processing Center at MIT MIT Dome
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    Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
    Faculty Highlight: Paula Hammond
    MIT Chemical Engineering Professor Paula Hammond
    MIT Chemical Engineering Professor Paula Hammond.

    Engineering tiny paths to cancer treatment, bone regrowth and wound healing.

    As a chemical engineer, Paula Hammond began her career getting tiny polymers to transform when heated or stretched, by changing color, for example. But her passion turned to using those techniques to promote healing. That led her to engineer better bandages for wounded soldiers and design better carriers for cancer treatments.


    "The reason that biomedical applications have been exciting to me is that a number of the things that we're working on actually get us closer to delivery to the patient or to a real application in which we can affect lives," says Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering at MIT.


    "Lung cancer has affected my relatives in a special way, so I'm very aware of the impact of cancer on people and on families," Hammond explainsRead more.


    Advancing Medicine Layer by Layer

    MIT graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah show progress in laboratory studies of mice and rats toward better cancer treatment, bone replacement.

    Nisarg Shah and Stephen Morton holds samples of their work in the lab.
    Nisarg Shah and Stephen Morton holds samples of their work in the lab.  

    Personalized cancer treatments and better bone implants could grow from techniques demonstrated by graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah working in Professor Paula Hammond's Lab at MIT.


    Morton's work focuses on developing drug-carrying nanoparticles to target hard-to-treat cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer, while Shah develops coatings that promote better adhesion for bone implants.


    Their work shares a materials-based approach using layer-by-layer assembly of nanoparticles and coatings. This approach provides controlled release of a variety of desirable components from chemotherapy drugs to bone growth factors. Use of natural materials promises to reduce harmful side effects.


    "We have all of these different areas in which we are seeking to address different problems related to human health, certainly in the context of cancer research which is a very big part of the lab now," Shah says. "In addition to that we are also looking at how we can improve ways in which various patient diseases and injuries, are managed in a way that will improve current clinical standards."   Read more. 


    A Window on Classical Manufacturing Science
    MIT Glass Lab, Foundry and Forge renovations will feature glass walls for better viewing.
    Graduate student James Hunter heats a metal blade in hot coals.
    Fifth-year graduate student James Hunter heats a metal blade in hot coals to shape it for a wood splitting tool known as a froe in the MIT Glass Lab and Forge.

    MIT's Glass Lab, Forge and Foundry will close after graduation in June for major renovations. This will serve more students and provide better space for the popular programs in Building 4, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls along interior corridors.


    "Visitors walking along the Infinite Corridor love to stop and look through the windows to see people making things. We'll now also have a display case in the hall where finished products from both programs can be displayed," Glass Lab Director Peter Houk says.


    The Glass Lab will face onto a new courtyard between Building 4 and the new MIT.nano building, which also begins construction work this summer.


    "Our values are about getting students in the labs, getting their hands dirty," says Materials Science and Engineering Department Head Christopher A. Schuh. "They're going to get to work with hot, molten metal, hot flowable glass, and this is reinforcement for what we do in the classroom." Read more.  

    NIST Awards $539,990 Grant to Photonics Consortium

    MIT Microphotonics Center joins iNEMI for 19-moth project to develop technology roadmap.


    Lionel Kimerling, Thomas Lord Prof. of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT
    LIONEL KIMERLING, Director, MIT Microphotonics Center
     A Roadmap for building a common research and manufacturing infrastructure will be the goal of the Consortium for Integrated Photonic Systems Manufacturing (CIPSM), a partnership of the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative Inc. (iNEMI) and the MIT Microphotonics Center announced May 8 with funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
    The $539,990, 19-month grant to CIPSM is one of 19 awards totaling $9 million to develop technology roadmaps aimed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing. The grant is through NIST's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program. Funding begins June 1.
    A recent Microphotonics Center technology working group report, "On-Board Optical Interconnection 2013," estimates that by 2017 optical links will be on printed wiring boards connecting chips or connecting packages of chips. 
    Manufacturers will need to scale up to producing photonics components by the  tens of millions.
    Solar Car Team Preps for Austin
    MIT team members preparing "Valkyrie" for Austin to St. Paul run in July.
    Michelle Chao and Rose Abramson work on steering wheel electronics panel.
    Michelle Chao and Rose Abramson remove the steering electronics panel in the solar car.  
    MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team will be headed to Austin, Texas, in mid-July for the American Solar Challenge with their latest incarnation, "Valkyrie."
    "It's a race car, so there is only enough room for one person to sit in it to drive," says freshman Michelle Chao from Houston, Texas, who will be one of the drivers on the road trip from Austin to St. Paul, Minn.
    "There is a lead car that makes sure we going the correct route and there is a chase car behind," Chao says. "We also have a truck and trailer." The rest of the team members are available for pit stops and maintenance. Read more.
    Upcoming Events
    MIT Commencement,

    June 6, 2014

    MPC/CMSE Summer Scholars, June 8, 2014 - August 9, 2014
    TechConnect WorldInnovation Conference and Expo, June 15-18, 2014, Washington, D.C .

    Symposium and Poster Session will be on October 21, 2014 

    2014 MIT Innovation Conference

    Oct. 28-29, 2014

    2014 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit,  Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 2014,  Boston, Mass.  


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    Improving a new breed of solar cells
    Quantum-dot photovoltaics set new record for efficiency in such devices, could unlock new uses.
     Researcher displays a sample of the record-setting new solar cell on the MIT campus.  Photo courtesy of Chia-Hao Chuang
    Researcher displays a sample of the record-setting new solar cell on the MIT campus.  Photo courtesy of Chia-Hao Chuang.

    Solar-cell technology has advanced rapidly, as hundreds of groups around the world pursue more than two-dozen approaches using different materials, technologies, and approaches to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Now a team at MIT has set a new record for the most efficient quantum-dot cells - a type of solar cell that is seen as especially promising because of its inherently low cost, versatility, and light weight. Read more 

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