July 2021
Tunable "Metasurface" is Akin to Optical
Swiss Army Knife
MIT Graduate Student Yifei Zhang holds the new metasurface, or flat optical device patterned with some 100,000 nanoscale structures, that is integrated on a silicon chip and can be electrically activated.
Credit: Yifei Zhang
Enormous potential range of applications

MIT engineers and colleagues report important new advances on a tunable metasurface, or flat optical device patterned with nanoscale structures, that they compare to a Swiss army knife while its passive predecessor can be thought of as just one tool, like a flat-bladed screwdriver. Key to the work is a transparent material discovered by the team that quickly and reversibly changes its atomic structure in response to heat.
"Magic-angle" trilayer graphene may be a rare, magnet-proof superconductor
MIT physicists have observed signs of a rare type of superconductivity in a material called “magic-angle” twisted trilayer graphene.
Image courtesy of the researchers
New findings might help inform the design of more powerful MRI machines or robust quantum computers

MIT physicists have observed signs of a rare type of superconductivity in a material called magic-angle twisted trilayer graphene. In a study appearing in Nature, the researchers report that the material exhibits superconductivity at surprisingly high magnetic fields of up to 10 Tesla, which is three times higher than what the material is predicted to endure if it were a conventional superconductor.
Tenured Engineers of 2021
MIT associate professor of physics Joseph G. Checkelsky.
Tenured faculty in the School of Science and the School of Engineering for 2021: (left to right Elsa Olivetti, Joseph Checkelsky
Photos courtesy of Denis Paiste, Steph Stevens
MIT has granted tenure to two faculty members from the MIT School of Science, Physics Department and the School of Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering Department.

Elsa Olivetti, in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, focuses her research on sustainable and scalable materials design, manufacturing, and end-of-life recovery within the larger context in which materials are used. She is especially interested in linking strategies to reduce the environmental burden of materials across different length scales — from atoms and molecules to industrial processes and materials markets. She conducts work to inform our understanding of the complex and nuanced implications of substitution, dematerialization, and waste mining on materials sustainability.

Physicist Joseph Checkelsky investigates exotic electronic states of matter through the synthesis, measurement, and control of solid-state materials. His research aims to uncover new physical phenomena that expand the boundaries of understanding of quantum mechanical condensed matter systems and open doorways to new technologies by realizing emergent electronic and magnetic functionalities. Checkelsky joined the Department of Physics in 2014 after a postdoc appointment at Japan’s Institute for Physical and Chemical Research and a lectureship at the University of Tokyo. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College in 2004; and in 2010, he received a doctoral degree in physics from Princeton University.
MIT.nano receives American Institute of Architect's
Top Ten Award for Sustainable Design
MIT.nano, MIT’s 216,000-square-foot, shared-access facility for nanoscience and nanotechnology research, has been awarded the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2021 Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Award for excellence in sustainability and design. Photo: Wilson HGA
The annual award recognizes 10 projects, located anywhere in the world, that meet AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence — 10 principles aimed at creating a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment. Projects are evaluated on how well they are designed for integration, equitable communities, ecosystems, water, economy, energy, well-being, resources, change, and discovery. In each criterion, MIT.nano excelled.
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