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Materials science and engineering

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Financial Times

In a letter to the Financial Times, Prof. Donald Sadoway underscores the need for new smelting capacity to meet the growing need for copper for the transition to clean energy. “Imagine a process that produces superior metal at lower cost with zero greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Sadoway. “Such technology would recapture domestic market share from foreign producers. We must invent the future; we cannot simply legislate for it.”

IEEE Spectrum

IEEE Spectrum reporter Prachi Patel writes that researchers from MIT and Google Brain have developed a new open-source tool that could streamline solar cell improvement and discovery. The new system should “speed up development of more efficient solar cells by allowing quick assessment of a wide variety of possible materials and device structures,” writes Patel.

Inside EVs

24M Technologies, an MIT startup, and Volkswagen Group are joining forces to "manufacture next-generation lithium-ion EV batteries using the 24M SemiSolid platform,” reports Mark Kane for Inside EVs.

Newsweek

Researchers from MIT and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology have found a vaccine ingredient that may strengthen immune response, reports Natalie Colarossi for Newsweek. This combination-style vaccine ingredient “may boost the effectiveness of inoculations ranging from HIV to Covid-19,” writes Colarossi.

Smithsonian Magazine

MIT researchers have been working to turn polyethylene plastics into woven fabrics, reports Smithsonian Magazine reporter Frederick Reimers. “We strongly believe that adoption of PE textiles will be very beneficial for the world from the sustainability standpoint,” says Principal Research Scientist Svetlana Boriskina tells Reimers. 

Optics.org

Optics & Photonics News reporter Patricia Daukantas spotlights how a team of researchers from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) has uncovered a way to generate long wavelength light using intrinsic defects in semi-conducting materials. “The new method raises the possibility of future CMOS-compatible LEDs that give off the full spectrum of visible light, writes Daukantas, “without the need for phosphors that generate excess heat and shorten the diodes’ lifespan.”

TechCrunch

Via Separations, a startup co-founded by Shreya Dave ’16 and Brent Keller ’16 after conducting research with MIT Professor Jeffrey Grossman, has announced a $38 million Series B led by NGP ETP, reports Ron Miller for TechCrunch. “Basically, our vision is if we can decarbonize that supply chain infrastructure, then we don’t have to rely on consumers having to make a decision between the thing that they want and how to do good for the planet” says Dave.  

Mashable

Mashable reporter Emmett Smith spotlights how MIT researchers have created a new toolkit for designing wearable devices that can be 3D printed. “The researchers used the kit to create sample devices, like a personal muscle monitor that uses augmented reality,” explains Smith, “plus a device for recognizing hand gestures and a bracelet for identifying distracted driving.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor David Blackmon spotlights Ambri, an MIT startup that is developing liquid-metal batteries. Blackmon writes that Ambri has developing a new battery technology that could “help renewables like wind and solar scale up more rapidly in the coming years and help them occupy a larger share of electricity generation around the world.”

The Washington Post

Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle spotlights MIT startup Form Energy, which has created a battery prototype made of iron and oxygen that stores large amounts of power and can release it over days. Von Drehle writes that this new battery could usher in a “sort of tipping point for green energy: reliable power from renewable sources at less than $20 per kilowatt-hour.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold spotlights how Form Energy, a startup co-founded by Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang, has developed an inexpensive iron-air battery that can discharge power for days. The batteries could be “capable of solving one of the most elusive problems facing renewable energy: cheaply storing large amounts of electricity to power grids when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing,” writes Gold.

Inside Science

MIT researchers are developing an electronic skin that can withstand sweating, reports Karen Kwon for Inside Science. The researchers “punched holes on the e-skin to match the size of sweat pores and the distance between them. Then, inspired by kirigami, the team cut away even more material between two holes in an alternating pattern,” writes Kwon. The resulting pattern “could tolerate bending and stretching more than the conventional e-skin with simple holes.”

TopUniversities.com

Provost Marty Schmidt speaks with TopUniversities.com reporter Chloe Lane about how MIT has maintained its position as the top university in the world on the QS World University Rankings for 10 consecutive years. “I am honored to have been a part of the MIT community for almost 40 years,” says Schmidt. “It’s a truly interdisciplinary, collaborative, thought-provoking place that encourages experimentation and pushes you to expand your mind. I think it’s a wonderful place to call home.”

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have developed new programmable fibers that could help transform clothing into wearable computers, reports Kyle Mizokami for Popular Mechanics. “The polymer fibers contain hundreds of tiny silicon microchips that, once electrified, can sustain a digital connection across tens of meters,” Mizokami writes.

Forbes

Forbes contributor Eric Tegler spotlights how MIT researchers are developing a fiber with digital capabilities. “Individuals wearing garments with digital fibers could be alerted to vital information about their physiology and environmental exposures, and share health/injury and location data with support forces,” Tegler explains.