News: Research

Ultrathin needle can deliver drugs directly to the brain

MIT researchers have devised a miniaturized system that can deliver tiny quantities of medicine to brain regions as small as 1 cubic millimeter. This type of targeted dosing could make it possible to treat diseases that affect very specific brain circuits, without interfering with the normal…   more

A new approach to rechargeable batteries

A type of battery first invented nearly five decades ago could catapult to the forefront of energy storage technologies, thanks to a new finding by researchers at MIT. The battery, based on electrodes made of sodium and nickel chloride and using a new type of metal mesh membrane, could be used…   more

Engineers design artificial synapse for “brain-on-a-chip” hardware

Researchers in the emerging field of “neuromorphic computing” have attempted to design computer chips that work like the human brain. Instead of carrying out computations based on binary, on/off signaling, like digital chips do today, the elements of a “brain on a chip” would work in an analog…   more

The best way of looking at the brain is from within

Members of Polina Anikeeva’s lab are trying to build devices that match the physical properties of neural tissue. “It is problematic to have something with the elastic properties of a knife inside something with the elastic properties of a chocolate pudding.” …   more

New technique allows rapid screening for new types of solar cells

The worldwide quest by researchers to find better, more efficient materials for tomorrow’s solar panels is usually slow and painstaking. Researchers typically must produce lab samples — which are often composed of multiple layers of different materials bonded together — for extensive testing.…   more

Capturing the properties of very hot compounds

The thermodynamic properties of compounds such as aluminum oxide, which are known as refractory materials because they melt at temperatures above 2,000 degrees Celsius (3,632 Fahrenheit), have been difficult to study because few vessels can withstand the heat to contain them, and those that do…   more

How to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT have found that in some situations, melting can actually inhibit metal…   more

A new way to store thermal energy

In large parts of the developing world, people have abundant heat from the sun during the day, but most cooking takes place later in the evening when the sun is down, using fuel — such as wood, brush or dung — that is collected with significant time and effort. Now, a new chemical…   more

10 years of energy research at MIT

Q: What are some of the most significant research impacts the MIT energy community has made over the past decade? A: While the horizon for the majority of energy research we do here at MIT is generally at least several decades, some researchers have already been able to translate their…   more

Researchers develop flexible, stretchable photonic devices

Researchers at MIT and several other institutions have developed a method for making photonic devices — similar to electronic devices but based on light rather than electricity — that can bend and stretch without damage. The devices could find uses in cables to connect computing devices, or in…   more

2017 Fall Wulff Lecture

  Fantastic Feather: Form and Function When we think of birds, we think of feathers. Feathers give birds their color, from the bright red of a male Cardinal to the iridescent reds and greens of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Feathers keep birds warm and dry: down…   more

New property found in unusual crystalline materials

Most metals and semiconductors, from the steel in a knife blade to the silicon in a solar panel, are made up of many tiny crystalline grains. The way these grains meet at their edges can have a major impact on the solid’s properties, including mechanical strength, electrical conductivity,…   more

Deshpande Center and J-WAFS announce fall 2017 research grants

The MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation announced today the award of $768,000 in grants to 17 MIT research teams currently working on early-stage technologies. DMSE-related projects include: "Structured Nucleic Acid Nanoparticle Therapeutic Delivery Platform" — Mark Bathe,…   more

Hydrogel that extracts uranium from water wins MADMEC

An inexpensive hydrogel that can extract uranium from water to provide more fuel for nuclear power plants took home the grand prize from this year’s MADMEC competition on Oct. 10. A team of MIT materials science and engineering students, named A Salt Solution, won $10,000 for a prototype…   more

Will metal supplies limit battery expansion?

The dramatic rise in production of electric vehicles, coupled with expected growth in the use of grid-connected battery systems for storing electricity from renewable sources, raises a crucial question: Are there enough raw materials to enable significantly increased production of lithium-ion…   more

Making renewable power more viable for the grid

Wind and solar power are increasingly popular sources for renewable energy. But intermittency issues keep them from connecting widely to the U.S. grid: They require energy-storage systems that, at the cheapest, run about $100 per kilowatt hour and function only in certain locations. Now…   more

Why researchers should step out of the lab

Shreya Dave, Jeff Grossman, and their co-researchers Brent Keller PhD ’16 and Karen Golmer, innovator in residence at MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, have published an account of their experience with learning by stepping out of their labs, using their work on membranes as a…   more

Blood testing via sound waves may replace some tissue biopsies

Cells secrete nanoscale packets called exosomes that carry important messages from one part of the body to another. Scientists from MIT and other institutions have now devised a way to intercept these messages, which could be used to diagnose problems such as cancer or fetal abnormalities.…   more

Fast-moving magnetic particles could enable new form of data storage

New research from the Beach Group has shown that an exotic kind of magnetic behavior discovered just a few years ago holds great promise as a way of storing data — one that could overcome fundamental limits that might otherwise be signaling the end of “Moore’s Law,” which describes the ongoing…   more

Making a pledge for the climate with our careers

Jeremy Poindexter, a graduate student in DMSE, recently published a piece titled "Making a pledge for the climate with our careers" in The Tech. "As I enter my fifth year as a PhD student at MIT and contemplate my post-graduation career trajectory, I chuckle when rereading these old words…   more

Projects make inroads on global food and water challenges

With goals that include finding better ways to purify and desalinate water, improving fertilizer production, and preventing food contamination, nearly two dozen research teams presented updates on their work at a day-long event on Sept. 15. The workshop featured the recipients of grants from the…   more

New analysis explains role of defects in metal oxides

Sometimes things that are technically defects, such as imperfections in a material’s crystal lattice, can actually produce changes in properties that open up new kinds of useful applications. New research from a team at MIT shows that such imperfections in a family of materials known as…   more