MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Research Initiatives in Climate & Sustainability
The future depends on finding solutions to the enormous challenges facing the world, including pollution, water scarcity, greenhouse gases, climate change, and more. DMSE faculty, students and staff are working with researchers across MIT to address major issues of climate and sustainability.
Controlling drug activity with light
In a new publication, a team co-led by Professor Polina Anikeeva and OHSU Research Assistant Professor James Frank introduces a microfiber technology to deliver and activate a drug that can be induced to bind its receptor by exposure to light. To use light to control drug activity, light and drugs must be delivered simultaneously to the targeted cells, which can be difficult when the target is deep in the body. Their work provides an integrated approach for on-demand delivery of light and drugs through a single fiber.
DMSE researchers use physics technology to develop rapid COVID-19 test
A team led by Professor Alfredo Alexander-Katz has adapted physics technology to create a rapid antigen COVID test that has been able to detect viral proteins quickly with high accuracy. The test provides a mechanical readout to assess the strength of biomolecular interactions, looking at friction to detect a sample's molecular interactions and confirm the presence of the virus in very small concentrations.
Accelerating oxygen surface exchange
Enhancing the oxygen exchange rate at the surface of oxides through rational design has long been a key goal of researchers pursuing sustainable energy solutions. Building on research co-authored by Professor Harry Tuller and Bilge Yildiz, DMSE alum Sossina M. Haile's simple infiltration method reveals that reaction rates on porous mixed-conducting oxides scale with the acidity of the infiltrate and can be tuned by orders of magnitude.
Developing new ways to advance copper production
Copper and sulfur are two products of a new electrochemical process that the Allanore group has proposed, which converts natural sulfide minerals into liquid copper and elemental sulfur. Copper is the backbone of the electronic area we live in, and is predicted to support the deployment of sustainable power generation. Sulfur is an essential chemical element, source of power, acids or sulfates such as used in agriculture.