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Materials science and engineering

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The Boston Globe

Prof. Emeritus Donald Sadoway and his colleagues have developed a safer and more cost-effective battery to store renewable energy, reports David Abel for The Boston Globe. The battery is “ethically sourced, cheap, effective and can’t catch fire,” says Sadoway.

The New York Times

In a letter to the editor, Professor Emeritus Donald R. Sadoway writes to The New York Times about the importance of developing new batteries that utilize readily available materials. “We need to attack it the old-fashioned American way: Invent our way out,” writes Sadoway. “This means devise a new battery chemistry that requires no cobalt, no nickel, no manganese and no lithium, but instead is made of substances that are earth-abundant and readily available here in North America.”

Science

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have developed a new cost-effective battery design that relies on aluminum ion, reports Robert F. Service for Science. “The battery could be a blockbuster,” writes Service, “because aluminum is cheap; compared with lithium batteries, the cost of materials for these batteries would be 85% lower.”

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new hardware that offers faster computation for artificial intelligence with less energy, reports Kyle Wiggers for TechCrunch. “The researchers’ processor uses ‘protonic programmable resistors’ arranged in an array to ‘learn’ skills” explains Wiggers.

Forbes

Researchers at MIT have developed a battery that uses  aluminum and sulfur, two inexpensive and abundant materials, reports Alex Knapp and Alan Ohnsman for Forbes. “The batteries could be used for a variety of applications,” write Knapp and Ohnsman.

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have created a new battery using inexpensive and plentiful materials to store and provide power, reports Tony Ho Tran for The Daily Beast. “The study’s authors believe that the battery can be used to support existing green energy systems such as solar or wind power for times when the sun isn’t shining or the air is still,” writes Tran. 

NBC News

NBC News reporter Kimmy Yam notes that months after having all charges he faced under the “China Initiative” dismissed, Prof. Gang Chen and his colleagues have discovered a new material that can perform better than silicon. "The discovery could have far-reaching effects, as silicon is currently among the most widely used semiconductors, making up the foundation of modern technology from computer chips to smartphones," writes Yam. 

New Scientist

Prof. Donald Sadoway and his colleagues have developed a battery that can charge to full capacity in less than one minute, store energy at similar densities to lithium-ion batteries and isn’t prone to catching on fire, reports Alex Wilkins for New Scientist. “Although the battery operates at the comparatively high temperature of 110°C (230°F),” writes Wilkins, “it is resistant to fire because it uses an inorganic salt that can’t burn as its electrolyte, the material that allows charge to flow inside a battery.” Sadoway explains that “this is a totally new battery chemistry."

VICE

Researchers at MIT believe they have found a new semiconductor that's better than silicon, which could open the doors to potentially faster and smaller computer chips in the future, reports Rachel Cheung for Vice. “Cubic boron arsenide has significantly higher mobility to both electronics and their positively charged counterparts than silicon, the ubiquitous semiconductor used in electronics and computers,” explains Cheung.

Fortune

Researchers at MIT and other institutions proved “that cubic boron arsenide performs better than silicon at conducting heat and electricity,” reports Nicholas Gordon for Fortune. “The new material may help designers overcome the natural limits of current models to make better, faster, and smaller chips,” writes Gordon.

The Washington Post

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma about the growing field of smart textiles and his work creating fabrics embedded with computational power. Fink and his colleagues “have created fibers with hundreds of silicon microchips to transmit digital signals — essential if clothes are to automatically track things like heart rate or foot swelling. These fibers are small enough to pass through a needle that can be sown into fabric and washed at least 10 times.”

New Scientist

Postdoctoral researcher Murat Onen  and his colleagues have created “a nanoscale resistor that transmits protons from one terminal to another,” reports Alex Wilkins for New Scientist. “The resistor uses powerful electric fields to transport protons at very high speeds without damaging or breaking the resistor itself, a problem previous solid-state proton resistors had suffered from,” explains Wilkins.

Science Friday

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ira Flatow of NPR’s Science Friday about the importance of the CHIPS Act and the pressing need to invest in semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. “There is a deep connection between leading-edge manufacturing and innovation,” says del Alamo. “Whoever gets the most advanced technology first in the marketplace is going to rip off the greatest profits, and as a result is going to be able to invest into innovation at a greater level and therefore be able to move faster than their competitors.”

NPR

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ann Fisher of WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher about the importance of supporting domestic chip manufacturing in the U.S., and the need to help encourage students to pursue careers in the semiconductor industry. “Universities and colleges train over 50% of the semiconductor workforce,” says del Alamo, “and so investing in education, investing in the infrastructure, both human but also physical infrastructure that supports education and research, is really critical in the long run.” 

CBS Boston

Ambri, an MIT startup that has developed a liquid-metal battery that can be used for grid-level storage of renewable energy, has announced that it is months away from delivering its first battery to a customer, reports Jacob Wycoff for CBS Boston. "We want to have a battery that can draw from the sun even when the sun doesn't shine," said Prof. Donald Sadoway of the inspiration for Ambri’s battery.