January 2021
Physicists discover important new property
for graphene
Artist’s representation of the nanoscopic structure of the new ferroelectric material. Blue and gold dots represent the boron and nitride atoms in two atomically thin sheets of boron nitride. Between these sheets are two layers of graphene; the whitish/blue dots represent carbon atoms. The gold vertical lines running through the figure represent the movement of electrons.
Schematic by Ella Maru Studio
Unconventional form of ferroelectricity could impact next-generation computing
MIT researchers and colleagues have discovered an important—and unexpected—electronic property of graphene, a material discovered only about 17 years ago that continues to surprise scientists with its interesting physics. The work, which involves structures composed of atomically thin layers of materials that are also biocompatible, could usher in new, faster information-processing paradigms. One potential application is in neuromorphic computing, which aims to replicate the neuronal cells in the body responsible for everything from behavior to memories.
Four MIT scientists honored with 2021 National Academy of Sciences awards
Clockwise from top left: Professor Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, recipient of the NAS Award for Scientific Discovery; Professor Aviv Regev, recipient of the James Prize in Science and Technology Integration; Professor Susan Solomon, recipient of the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society; and Professor Feng Zhang, recipient of the Richard Lounsbery Award.
Photos courtesy of the researchers.
Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Aviv Regev, Susan Solomon, and Feng Zhang are the recipients of distinguished awards for major contributions to science.
Four MIT scientists are among the 20 recipients of the 2021 Academy Honors for major contributions to science, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced at its annual meeting. The individuals are recognized for their “extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological, social, and medical sciences.”
MIT convenes influential industry leaders in the
fight against climate change
MIT today announced the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium, which convenes influential industry leaders from a broad range of industries with the aim of vastly accelerating shared solutions to address climate change.
Image: PopKitchen Co.
Launched today, the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium (MCSC) convenes an alliance of leaders from a broad range of industries and aims to vastly accelerate large-scale, real-world implementation of solutions to address the threat of climate change. The MCSC unites similarly motivated, highly creative and influential companies to work with MIT to build a process, market, and ambitious implementation strategy for environmental innovation.
Unravelling carbon uptake in concrete pavements
A model developed at MIT suggests that a natural carbon uptake process in concrete could offset 5 percent of the CO2 emissions generated from the cement used in U.S. pavements.
Photo: Rodolpho Quirós/Pexels
In a new paper, MIT researchers investigate the carbon uptake of all pavements in the United States. The study finds that the carbonation process could offset 5 percent of the CO2 emissions generated from cement used in U.S. pavements. Much of those offsets, the researchers find, could occur years after pavements have been demolished, especially in states that use composite pavement designs.
Researchers construct molecular nanofibers
that are stronger than steel
MIT researchers have designed small molecules that spontaneously form nanoribbons when water is added. These molecules include a Kevlar-inspired “aramid” domain in their design, in green, which fixes each molecule in place and leads to nanoribbons that are stronger than steel. Parts of the molecules attracted to or repulsed from water, shown in purple and blue respectively, orient and guide the molecules to form a nanostructure. This image depicts three Kevlar-inspired “aramid amphiphile” nanoribbons.
Image: Peter Allen
Self-assembly of Kevlar-inspired molecules leads to structures with robust properties, offering new materials for solid-state applications.
Self-assembly is ubiquitous in the natural world, serving as a route to form organized structures in every living organism. This phenomenon can be seen, for instance, when two strands of DNA — without any external prodding or guidance — join to form a double helix, or when large numbers of molecules combine to create membranes or other vital cellular structures. Everything goes to its rightful place without an unseen builder having to put all the pieces together, one at a time.
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