Newsletter September, 2013


    MIT Materials News that Matters

    September 2013
    Materials Processing Center at MIT MIT Dome
    77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

    Materials Day Symposium and Poster Session to focus on Photonics

    Topics will range from revolutionary fabrics and fibers to next generation communications.

    Photonic Materials will be the focus of this year's Materials Day event, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium (W16) on the MIT campus. The poster session will be immediately following from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Student Center, La Sala de Puerto Rico. Register today! 

    In the past decade, there have been great advances in the development of photonic materials for applications ranging from optical interconnections for microelectronic circuits to new biomedical systems enabled by innovations in materials processing.

    Materials Day activities will include a one-day conference featuring speakers from both inside and outside MIT. Our invited speakers include: 

    Multislot waveguide design for confining optical power in low index materials. Image courtesy Professor Lionel Kimerling.
    Multislot waveguide design for confining optical power in low index material
    • Optical Materials R&D at GE: From Science to Technology
      Dr. Vanita Mani, Technology Leader, Energy Storage & Conversion Materials, GE Global Research    
    • Nanophotonics for Energy-Conversion Applications 
      Professor Marin Soljacic, Physics Department 
    • Photonic Materials for Future Exabit Networks  
      Dr. Alice White, Professor and Chair, Mechanical Engineering Department, Boston University (Formerly Chief Scientist, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Laboratories)     
    • Scaling to the ExaWorld: Roadmap and Roadblocks for the Information Age 
      Professor Lionel C. Kimerling, Director, Microphotonics Center, DMSE    
    • New Wave of Materials Challenges and Opportunities in the Growing Industry of Organic Light Emitting Devices 
      Dr. Michael Weaver, Director PHOLED Applications, Engineering & Development, Universal Display Corporation      
    • Colloidal Quantum Dots in Commercialized Light Bulbs and Displays
      Professor Vladimir Bulovic, Director, Microsystems Technology Laboratory, EECS      
    • How far can a shirt see? The Birth of a Revolution in Fibers and Fabrics 
      Professor Yoel Fink, Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics, DMSE    

    The student poster session, immediately follow the symposium, will feature 50 to 100 posters with up-to-the minute research results from the broad materials research community. The poster session is intended to highlight "ALL" materials research at MIT, not specifically on photonic materials.Please reserve this date on your calendar and feel free to extend the invitation to your colleagues.  There is no charge for admission however registration is required.  Register Now!
    The symposium will be held at MIT in Kresge Little Theatre (Bldg. W16, opposite 77 Massachusetts Avenue) with registration beginning at 8:00 am.

    Faculty Highlight: Caroline Ross

    New techniques for combining complex oxide thin films promise electrical control of magnetic properties for data storage and computing.  

    Caroline Ross, Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, with models demonstrating the crystal structures of complex metal oxides.
    Caroline Ross, Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, with models demonstrating the crystal structures of complex metal oxides.

    Materials combining the magnetic and electrical properties of different iron oxides, which could underlie new technologies for computer memory and computation, are the focus of intense work in MIT Professor Caroline Ross's Magnetic Materials and Devices Group lab. Some magnetic oxides, such as cobalt iron oxide (CFO), have controllable magnetic behavior, which when combined with an electrically active material such as bismuth iron oxide (BFO), can yield a promising material for future logic or memory devices. Such a material combining the ferroelectric, or piezoelectric, properties, of BFO with the magnetic properties of CFO, is called multiferroic. The two oxides also have different crystal structures.   


    "They grow as regions of one material next to regions of the other, and because of the way the crystal structures match up with the substrate, you can get pillars of one inside a matrix of the other. In our case, we grow pillars of the spinel, which is magnetic, inside a matrix of the perovskite, which is a ferroelectric. So you have a thin film, which is both ferroelectric and ferrimagnetic. Because the two phases are actually touching, if you apply an electric field, you can switch the magnetism, and if you apply a magnetic field, you can switch the ferroelectricity, so you actually get this two-phase material called a multiferroic," said Ross, the Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.
    Read more
    Switchable magnetic pillars 
    Nicolas Aimon develops pulsed laser deposition techniques for mixed multiferroic oxide films.  
    MIT Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Nicolas M. Aimon works with a pulsed laser deposition machine. Photo: Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center
    MIT Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Nicolas M. Aimon works with a pulsed laser deposition machine.
    MIT materials science and engineering graduate student Nicolas M. Aimon has developed new methods of making mutiferroic complex metal oxide thin films by pulsed laser deposition and controlling their magnetic properties. The work, with MIT Professor Caroline Ross and colleagues, could lead to a new generation of smaller, more energy efficient devices for computing and data storage. 

    Aimon grew nanopillars of cobalt iron oxide (CFO) in a matrix of bismuth iron oxide (BFO) on a strontium titanate (SrTiO3) substrate. Of key interest is the coupling between magnetic and electrical properties in these complex metal oxides, with the CFO/BFO nanocomposite film showing promise as part of an electrically-switchable magnetic data storage device. Because the pillars are magnetic, they could be magnetized up or down, representing zero or one in a storage device. "What we're trying to do is define processes and fabrication techniques that allow us to grow these materials so that the pillars grow where we want them to grow," Aimon said.  Read more.  
    Upcoming Events
    SPIE Optifab, Oct. 14-17, 2013, Rochester, N.Y.

    MADMEC Final Presentations and Awards Ceremony, Oct. 15, 2013,

    1 to 3 p.m., Building 6-120, MIT

    October 23, 2013  
    MPC Advisory Board Meeting, Oct. 24, 2013 
    SOLUTIONS with/in/sight: Women on the Front Lines in the Fight Against Cancer, Oct. 29, 2013, MIT Koch Institute, 500 Main St., Cambridge, MA
    MIT Aero Astro Gardner Lecture, 20th Anniversary Hubble Repair Mission Symposium, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., 
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    Tinier Wires  
     Researchers in the lab of Caroline Ross, the Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, have found a new way of making complex three-dimensional structures using self-assembling polymer materials that form tiny wires and junctions. The work has the potential to usher in a new generation of microchips and other devices made up of submicroscopic features. Animation and narration - Kevin Gotrik, graduate student, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT; Music - Alastair Cameron. Read more at MIT News                                                                       Video: MIT News Office
    New materials improve oxygen catalysis 
    Highly active catalysts could be key to improved energy storage in fuel cells and advanced batteries.
    A diagram of the molecular structure of double perovskite. Photo - Illustration courtesy of the researchers.
    A diagram of the molecular structure of double perovskite. Photo - Illustration courtesy of the researchers.
    MIT researchers have found a new family of materials that provides the best-ever performance in a reaction called oxygen evolution, a key requirement for energy storage and delivery systems such as advanced fuel cells and lithium-air batteries.The materials, called double perovskites, are a variant of a mineral that exists in abundance in the Earth's crust. Their remarkable ability to promote oxygen evolution in a water-splitting reaction - which breaks water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen -- is detailed in a paper
     appearing in the journal Nature Communications. The work was conducted by Yang Shao-Horn, the Gail E. Kendall Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering; postdoc Alexis Grimaud; and six others.
    The performance of this family of materials, Shao-Horn says, is a step forward from the previous record-holder for a catalyst that promotes electrochemical water-splitting - a material that Shao-Horn and her team reported in a paper in Science two years ago. In addition, while the earlier material quickly changes structure during water-splitting, the new material is stable. Read more.

    David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

    September 17, 2013
    Helmholtz Center interviews MIT Prof. Harry Tuller 
    Strong shared interest in photo-assisted generation of fuels, water splitting
    MIT Prof. Harry Tuller at Helmholtz  Center, Berlin.  Antonia Roetger Photo
    Prof. Harry Tuller at Helmholtz Center, Berlin. Antonia Roetger Photo.

    In summer 2013, Professor Harry Tuller visited the Helmholtz-Berlin (HZB) for several weeks, at the invitation of Professor Roel van de Krol of the Institute for Solar Fuels at HZB. His visit was sponsored by a Helmholtz International Fellowship Award. Tuller, who is Professor of Ceramics and Electronic Materials at MIT, is an expert in the field of fuel cells, batteries and new solutions for energy transformation.

    Helmholtz Center science communications officer Dr. Antonia Roetger has generously shared her interview and podcast with Dr. Tuller about his interests and research. They spoke why he chose to visit Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin as well his motivation to continue his research after the typical age of retirement, his perception of an increased interest in energy research in young people and his hopes for the future. (The official retirement age in Germany is 65.)Read more.

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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
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