Newsletter October, 2013

    MIT Materials News that Matters

    October 2013
    Materials Processing Center at MIT MIT Dome
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    Faculty Highlight: Evelyn Wang

    Efficient Heat Transfer - MIT researcher aims to control changes in phase of gases and liquids to reduce power consumption in heating and cooling systems. 

    Evelyn Wang

    Efficient heat and mass transfer for devices from a thermal battery to air condition electric vehicles to cooling for steam power plants is the focus of 
    Evelyn Wang, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at MIT, and principal investigator of the Device Research LaboratoryEvelyn Wang -
    "In general, our lab works a lot on using micro and nanostructures for various thermal-fluid applications." Among key recent projects in Wang's group are:


    Former graduate student and postdoctoral associate Nenad Miljkovic pioneered highly scalable nanostructured coatings for copper tubing that shed water efficiently, boost heat flux by 25 percent and raise the condensation heat transfer coefficient by 30 percent. The work has applications for power plants, thermal desalination, dehumidification, and other industrial uses.

    Wang is principal investigator in a multi-site, ARPA-E funded project to develop a thermal battery for heating and cooling in electric vehicles. Postdoctoral associate Shankar Narayanan is leading work on an adsorption bed for the battery and graduate student Ian McKay is exploring how to integrate Miljkovic's discoveries regarding superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic surfaces into the evaporator-condenser design.

    Graduate student Andrej Lenert and colleagues are developing solar thermophotovoltaic systems based on photonic crystal absorbers and emitters that promise to deliver 10 percent efficiency.  Read more 

    Enhancing solar cells with heat
    Thermophotovoltaic system converts high heat to narrow spectrum tailored to solar cell profile  

    Photonic crystal STPV
    Experimental two-dimensional tantalum photonic crystal (Ta PhC)-based solar thermophotovoltaic device

    Mechanical engineering graduate student Andrej Lenert and colleagues at MIT recently demonstrated a photonic-crystal based thermophotovoltaic system, which converts heat to electricity.  Specifically, they paired a one-dimensional silicon/silicon dioxide photonic crystal emitter with an Indium Gallium Arsenide Antimonide (InGaAsSb) photovoltaic cell to reach thermophotovoltaic efficiency above 5 percent.

    The work also predicted through theoretical modeling that solar thermophotovoltaic (STPV) system  efficiencies exceeding 10 percent could be achieved using two-dimensional tantalum photonic crystals for the emitter/absorber and a tandem filter with a simple planar layout. Data from the one-dimensional photonic crystal experiments matched predicted results within experimental uncertainty, thus validating the models. Read more.  

    Advances in Materials Driving New Technologies 
    Quantum dots for lighting and television, specialty fibers for surgery, highlighted at annual MPC Materials Day

    Phosphorescent Organic LEDs (PHOLEDs) are leading a new generation of vivid color and depth perspective in televisions, according to Dr. Michael S. Weaver, director of PHOLED Applications Engineering and Development, for Ewing, N.J.-based Universal Display Corporation.

    Advances in materials are driving the proliferation of new technologies from energy to smart phones and televisions to robotic surgery, MIT faculty and industry researchers said during the Materials Day Symposium, hosted by the Materials Processing Center, Oct. 23, 2013. The daylong symposium, which drew 132 attendees, was held in Little Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus. A student poster session drew 68 posters. The top three posters  won MPC's usual prize of $500 each and one winner was randomly selected to receive a mini iPad.

    Phosphorescent Organic LEDs

    PHOLEDs are leading a new generation of vivid color and depth perspective in televisions, according to Dr. Michael S. Weaver, director of PHOLED Applications Engineering and Development, for Ewing, N.J.-based Universal Display Corporation. Read more 

    Colloidal quantum dots

    Colloidal quantum hold the promise of changing the way we think about LED lighting, Professor Vladimir Bulovic, Director of the Microsystems Technology Lab at MIT, said. "By changing the size of the dot, you can change the color of the dot," he said. Read more 

    Functional fibers

    Materials Science and Engineering Professor Yoel Fink presented research that led to creation of special fibers for use as laser light carriers. By the end this year, 100,000 patients will have been treated with an optical scalpel using functional fibers. 

    Read more

    Photonic crystals

    Professor Marin Soljacic of MIT Physics Department described how using photonic crystals can allow researchers to tailor the emission of a black body almost at will, with applications to infrared spectra for photovoltaic devices. Read more

    Leapfrog technology

    Despite those advances, the world is making increasing demands to come up with advances across a range of technologies from computers to lighting, more cheaply, quickly and better. MIT Professor Lionel Kimerling and Boston University Professor Alice White weigh in.  

    Read more 

    Performance metrics

    Developing a new material has to consider three pillars simultaneously, performance, life and cost.  "Efficiency and performance metrics are good but not sufficient; you've got to figure out how to make things practical," according to Dr. Vanita Mani, Technology Leader for Energy Storage and Conversion Materials at GE Global Research. Read more

    Materials Day Poster Session
     Nicole Davis, a chemistry graduate student, explains her poster on
    Nicole Davis, a chemistry graduate student, explains her poster on "Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Conducting Membranes for Photochemical Cells" to Ajay Pareek, left, of Digital Assay Microsystems. Davis is in the group of Professor Paula Hammond. The top three posters won MPC's usual prize of $500 each and one winner was randomly selected to receive a mini iPad.
    In Other News

    Upcoming Events

    20th Anniversary Hubble Repair Mission Symposium, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Bartos Theater E15-070. MiT

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    Reif Announces Plans for MIT Innovation Initiative

    President gives task to the 19-member panel, to deliver recommendations on next steps by January 31, 2014 


    President L. Rafael Reif announced on Oct. 17 his intention to create an MIT Innovation Initiative, and selected two faculty members to lead the effort.

    In an email to the MIT community, Reif named Fiona Murray, the Alvin J. Siteman (1948) Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh (1990) Professor of Emerging Technology, to lead the MIT Innovation Initiative. He also named a 19-member Advisory Committee to assist Murray and Bulović in developing recommendations for the next steps."I am indebted to Profs. Murray and Bulović and to the entire Advisory Committee for taking on this important challenge," Reif wrote. "I look forward to seeing their recommendations. And I am eager to see how this Innovation Initiative can magnify the creative power of the people of MIT."Reif has asked Murray and Bulović to engage in conversations across the MIT community -- including faculty, staff, students, and alumni - and to deliver a report by Jan. 31 that lays out recommendations for moving forward. Read more 
    Taking on the Grand Challenges
    Dean Ian Waitz leads the school of engineering to solve today's large-scale practical problems.
    MIT School of Engineering Dean Ian Waitz
    By the numbers, the School of Engineering itself is the largest school of MIT's five schools in terms of the number of students, research volume, and its interactions with industry. Engineering majors account for two-thirds of MIT undergraduates. Half of MIT's graduate students study engineering as well. 
    But what makes us special at MIT more broadly is that we are a school that collaborates both internally with other MIT schools and also with government and industry," explains Ian Waitz, dean of the MIT school of engineering since 2011. "The reason is because from our founding MIT has concentrated on solving practical problems, and to solve them, you must interact with the people who are engaged with those problems." 
    Today, MIT participates in over 750 different industrial collaborations, the majority of those in the school of engineering. As the school's dean, Waitz remains committed to building relationships in academia, industry, government, and other organizations - all with the goal of addressing grand challenges and providing practical solutions.
    Read more
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    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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