Newsletter, October 2015 Featured

    MIT Materials News that Matters
    October 2015
    Materials Processing Center at MIT
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    Quantum Materials: A New Paradigm for Computing?
    Diamond spintronics for information processing and graphene-based infrared detectors are among leading edge technologies reported at annual Materials Day Symposium at MIT.

    MPC Director Carl V. Thompson addresses the Materials Day Symposium,  "Quantum Materials,"  on Oct. 14, 2015.
    Moore's Law enabled smaller, cheaper, faster electronic devices for five decades, but it will take a new paradigm like quantum materials to make the next technological leap, Materials Processing Center Director Carl V. Thompson told the annual Materials Day Symposium at MIT.
    A new family of quantum materials, including graphene, hexagonal boron nitride and molybdenum disulfide, and nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond, are at the forefront of recent scientific research. They are being explored for their unusual electronic, optical and magnetic properties with special interest in their potential uses for sensing, information processing and memory.
    Materials Day Talks  

    Diamond spintronics holds promise for a wide range of applications that include nano-magnetic imaging, gyroscopes and quantum information processing, Element Six Chief Technology Officer Daniel Twitchen explains. Read more
    Graphene is 200 times stronger than structural steel and conducts electricity better than any metal. There's an opportunity to embedd two-dimensional (2D) materials into every object we use or wear using 100 times more electronics. Read more
    Quantum Transport and Optoelectronics with Revolutionary Heterostructures
    Layered atomically thin materials are a revolution in condensed matter physics. Their mechanical, electronic and optical properties vary with the number of layers.
    Read more
    A 2D topological insulator is a two-dimensional material that is insulating in its bulk but freely conducting along its edge. Electrons in this edge state will have their spin locked perpendicularly to their momentum and they split into two spin-polarized, one-dimensional conduction channels. Read more 
    A new sensor has been developed based on nitrogen-vacancy center diamond, to measure magnetic fields and capture the structure and charge of skyrmions, which are of potential interest for computing. Read more

    Half the people on the planet will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020, according to Gartner Inc. Research. In order to handle that explosion of volume, computers that run the Internet will need to move beyond current processing, which uses exact Boolean logic functions and develop information processing technologies more conducive to cognitive functions. Read more 

    Nitrogen-vacancy center diamond pillars can provide unlimited memory storage. New techniques to grow nitrogen-vacancy center (NV center) diamond pillars for use in qubit (quantum bit) applications have been developed. These pillars can be formed in an array around a wafer.  Read more
    Materials Day Poster Session Winners
    Congratulations to this years Materials Day poster session winners: 
    Sophie Liu and Jonathan Bartels (MPC Administrative Officer)
    Materials Day Poster Session Winner Sophie Liu  and Jonathan Bartels, MPC Administrative Officer.
    Materials Day Poster Sesion Winner  Lan Li and Brian Pearson_
     Materials Day Poster Sesion Winner Lan Li and  Brian  Pearson.
    Sophie Liu, Lionel C. H. Moh, Alexander R. Petty, Graham T. Sazama
    Poster Title: Metalloporphyrin-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes in Gas Sensors
    Faculty Advisor: Professor Timothy M. Swager
    Department of Chemistry

    Brian Pearson
    Poster Title: Crystalline Ge on Amorphous Substrates for Electronic-Photonic Integration
    Faculty Advisor: Professor Lionel C. Kimerling, Professor Jurgen Michel
    Department of Mechanical Engineering

    Lan Li
    Poster Title: Integrated 3D Flexible Glass Photonics
    Faculty Advisor: Professor Juejun Hu
    Department of Materials Science & Engineering
    Seeking Potash Alternative
    International Conference at MIT to focus on co-operative research efforts, alternatives to potassium salts for farming.
    A researcher in agronomy waters plants at an Embrapa greenhouse in Brazil_ where experiments showed a new potassium fertilizer_ derived from potassium feldspar_ promotes faster growth. Antoine Allanore_ the Thomas B. King Assistant Professor of Metallurgy at MIT_ developed the potash alternative from Brazilian feldspar. Courtesy of Dr. Eder Martins_ Embrapa.
    Agronomy researcher Maria Inês Lopes de Oliveira, PhD, waters plants at an Embrapa greenhouse in Brazil, where experiments showed a new potassium fertilizer, developed at MIT from potassium feldspar, promotes faster growth. Lopes de Oliveira is a professor at Instituto Federal de Brasília, Planaltina, Brazil, and a member of the stonemeal research team at Embrapa. Courtesy of Dr. Eder Martins, Embrapa.
    Participants from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, European Union, the United Kingdom, China and Africa will gather on the MIT campus for three days, Nov. 10-12, 2015, for the first International Workshop on Alternative Potash. 
    Cost-effective solutions to providing potassium fertilizer (potash) to the southern hemisphere are needed as the world's population continues to grow, says Antoine Allanore, the Thomas B. King Assistant Professor of Metallurgy at MIT. 
    Across the globe, regions in the southern hemisphere lack potassium resources and their soils differ from soils in the northern hemisphere. "As of today, they are importing potash from the northern hemisphere," Allanore says. 
    The first International Workshop of Alternative Potash will hold presentations, which are open to the public in Room 237, Building 4, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. 
    Leaching Study Boosts Potash Alternative
    Microfluidic experiments show feldspar releases potassium at a higher rate than expected, suggesting new possibilities for using ground rocks in agriculture. 
    MIT Postdoctoral Associate Davide Ciceri holds a microfluidic device he designed to study leaching of potassium from the silicate mineral potassium feldspar.  Photo_ Denis Paiste
    MIT Postdoctoral Associate Davide Ciceri holds a microfluidic device he designed to study leaching of potassium from the silicate mineral potassium feldspar. Photo, Denis Paiste
    Researchers in the lab of Antoine Allanore, the Thomas B. King Assistant Professor of Metallurgy at MIT, have been working on potash alternatives for three years. In a paper published Oct. 20, 2015, in PLOS One, Allanore group postdoctoral associate Davide Ciceri demonstrates through microfluidic experiments that feldspar interacting with an acid solution can release sufficient quantities of potassium for agriculture.
    Close-up view of microfluidic device designed by MIT Postdoctoral Associate Davide Ciceri. Photo_ Denis Paiste
     Close-up of micro-  fluidic device.
    Prior studies of the leaching rate for potassium ions from feldspar used one of two methods, either batch apparatuses or flow-through apparatuses. Neither adequately mimics the natural soil environment around the roots of a plant, Ciceri contends. He developed a microfluidic device to measure leaching from a thin section of feldspar, on a time and size scale that mimics natural pores in soil better than previously reported. "We think it's a kind of pioneering work, which could lead to several additional developments," Ciceri says.
    Desalination Gets a Graphene Boost
    Jeffrey Grossman applies new materials research to making desalination cheaper and more efficient.

    Eric Brown
    MIT Industrial Liaison Program

    With the intensifying drought in California, the state has accelerated the construction of desalination plants. Yet due to high construction and operating costs, as well as environmental concerns, we're not likely to see reclaimed seawater represent more than a small fraction of America's clean water reserves for some time to come. Aside from other costs, the immense amounts of energy required to make clean water from seawater continues to make desalination a niche solution in most parts of the world.When Jeffrey Grossman, a professor at MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), began looking into whether new materials might reduce the cost of desalination, he was surprised to find how little R&D money was being applied to the problem.
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    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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