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Nanoscience and nanotechnology

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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.

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. 

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.

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have developed firefly-inspired robots that can emit light while flying, reports Popular Mechanics. “The robots may be able to converse with one another because of this electroluminescence and, for instance, a robot that finds survivors while on a search-and-rescue mission, within a fallen building, could use lights to alert others and request assistance.”

Nature

Nature reporter Neil Savage spotlights Prof. Michael Strano’s work developing a new technique to use nanoparticles to alter the biology of living plants. Savage writes that the new technique can allow for "the design of nanoparticles that carry gene-editing machinery to targeted areas to rewrite the plant’s genome and imbue it with properties such as pest and disease resistance,” writes Savage.

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.” 

Science

MIT researchers have created a thin, lightweight and flexible loudspeaker that is as thin as a few sheets of paper and can stick to most surfaces while producing high quality sound, reports Kendra Redmond for Science News Explores. “Because the design is so flexible and durable, companies could potentially integrate speakers into T-shirts or other personal items,” writes Redmond. “Or users could make their own.”

This Old House

Ross Trethewey, co-host of This Old House, visits Prof. Vladimir Bulović, director of MIT.nano, to learn more about the future of solar technology, including an electricity-generating film that can be applied to windows and other materials. “Dramatic advancements are on the horizon,” says Bulović. “We can make solar cells that don’t weigh very much at all so deployment of them on top of your roof could be as simple as unrolling a carpet and stapling it to the roof with a plug. Maybe your windows will be turned into solar cells.” 

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights multiple MIT research projects, including MIT Space Exploration Initiative’s TESSERAE, CSAIL’s Robocraft and the recent development of miniature flying robotic drones.

WHDH 7

MIT engineers have created insect-sized robots that can emit light when they fly and could eventually be used to aid search-and-rescue missions, reports WHDH. “Our idea is, if we can send in hundreds or thousands of those tiny flying robots then once they find that survivor, they will shine out light and pass information back and signal people on the outside saying ‘we found someone who’s trapped,'” explains Prof. Kevin Chen.

Popular Science

MIT engineers have developed tiny flying robots that can light up, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. “If you think of large-scale robots, they can communicate using a lot of different tools—Bluetooth, wireless, all those sorts of things,” says Prof. Kevin Chen. “But for a tiny, power-constrained robot, we are forced to think about new modes of communication.”

New Scientist

MIT researchers have developed a flexible and paper-thin speaker that can turn any surface into an audio source, reports New Scientist. “The lightweight loudspeaker uses only a fraction of the energy of a regular speaker and can generate sound regardless of the surface it is attached to,” writes New Scientist.