A new way to remove contaminants from nuclear wastewater

Method concentrates radionuclides in a small portion of a nuclear plant’s wastewater, allowing the rest to be recycled. David L. Chandler | MIT News OfficeDecember 19, 2019 Nuclear power continues to expand globally, propelled, in part, by the fact that it produces few greenhouse gas emissions while providing steady power output. But along with that […]

Chemists glimpse the fleeting “transition state” of a reaction

New technique for observing reaction products offers insights into the chemical mechanisms that formed them. Anne Trafton | MIT News OfficeDecember 16, 2019 During a chemical reaction, the molecules involved in the reaction gain energy until they reach a “point of no return” known as a transition state. Until now, no one has glimpsed this […]

Chemistry in the turbulent interstellar medium

NOVEMBER 22, 2019 by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Over 200 molecules have been discovered in space, some (like Buckminsterfullerene) very complex with carbon atoms. Besides being intrinsically interesting, these molecules radiate away heat, helping giant clouds of interstellar material cool and contract to form new stars. Moreover, astronomers use the radiation from these molecules to study […]

Study on surface damage to vehicles traveling at hypersonic speeds

NOVEMBER 19, 2019 by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Vehicles moving at hypersonic speeds are bombarded with ice crystals and dust particles in the surrounding atmosphere, making the surface material vulnerable to damage such as erosion and sputtering with each tiny collision. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studied this interaction one molecule at […]

Technique identifies T cells primed for certain allergies or infections

Researchers develop a method to isolate and sequence the RNA of T cells that react to a specific target. Anne Trafton | MIT News OfficeNovember 19, 2019 When your immune system is exposed to a vaccine, an allergen, or an infectious microbe, subsets of T cells that can recognize a foreign intruder leap into action. […]

A marvelous molecular machine

NOVEMBER 15, 2019 by Harrison Tasoff and Sonia Fernandez, University of California – Santa Barbara Squids, octopuses and cuttlefish are undisputed masters of deception and camouflage. Their extraordinary ability to change color, texture and shape is unrivaled, even by modern technology. Researchers in the lab of UC Santa Barbara professor Daniel Morse have long been interested […]

World-leading microscopes take candid snapshots of atoms in their ‘neighborhoods’

NOVEMBER 6, 2019 by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Researchers from MIT will be collaborating with colleagues at the University of Colorado at Boulder on an experiment scheduled to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) on Nov. 2. The experiment is looking for ways to address the formation of biofilms on surfaces within the space station. These […]

Chemists observe “spooky” quantum tunneling

Extremely large electric fields can prevent umbrella-shaped ammonia molecules from inverting. Anne Trafton | MIT News OfficeNovember 4, 2019 A molecule of ammonia, NH3, typically exists as an umbrella shape, with three hydrogen atoms fanned out in a nonplanar arrangement around a central nitrogen atom. This umbrella structure is very stable and would normally be […]

System provides cooling with no electricity

Passive device relies on a layer of material that blocks incoming sunlight but lets heat radiate away. David Chandler | MIT News OfficeOctober 30, 2019 Imagine a device that can sit outside under blazing sunlight on a clear day, and without using any power cool things down by more than 23 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees […]

New synthesis method yields degradable polymers

Materials could be useful for delivering drugs or imaging agents in the body; may offer alternative to some industrial plastics. Anne Trafton | MIT News OfficeOctober 28, 2019 MIT chemists have devised a way to synthesize polymers that can break down more readily in the body and in the environment. A chemical reaction called ring-opening […]