Unique properties of quantum material explained for first time

This new understanding of the topological material will make it easier for engineers to use it in new applications. OCTOBER 23, 2019 by Steve Tally, Purdue University The characteristics of a new, iron-containing type of material that is thought to have future applications in nanotechnology and spintronics have been determined at Purdue University. The native material, […]

Gravity crystals: A new method for exploring the physics of white dwarf stars

OCTOBER 21, 2019 by American Physical Society Grab a mixing bowl from your kitchen, throw in a handful of aluminum balls, apply some high voltage, and watch an elegant dance unfold where particles re-arrange themselves into a distinct “crystal” pattern. This curious behavior belongs to the phenomenon known as Wigner crystallization, where particles with the same […]

MADMEC teams address plastic waste problem with materials science

Finalists presented an alternative to nondegradable plastics, and an additive to help plastics decompose. Zach Winn | MIT News OfficeOctober 17, 2019 A team with a sustainable alternative to nondegradable plastic earned first place in this year’s MADMEC competition on Oct. 15. The ecoTrio team, made up of three MIT PhD students, took home the […]

Engineers put Leonardo da Vinci’s bridge design to the test

Proposed bridge would have been the world’s longest at the time; new analysis shows it would have worked. David L. Chandler | MIT News OfficeOctober 9, 2019 In 1502 A.D., Sultan Bayezid II sent out the Renaissance equivalent of a government RFP (request for proposals), seeking a design for a bridge to connect Istanbul with […]

Scientists discover fractal patterns in a quantum material

The X-ray-focusing lens used in the experiment is based on a design used in lighthouses for centuries. Jennifer Chu | MIT News OfficeOctober 16, 2019 A fractal is any geometric pattern that occurs again and again, at different sizes and scales, within the same object. This “self-similarity” can be seen throughout nature, for example in […]

The nano-guitar string that plays itself

Scientists at Lancaster University and the University of Oxford have created a nano-electronic circuit which vibrates without any external force. OCTOBER 14, 2019 by Lancaster University Using a tiny suspended wire, resembling a vibrating guitar string, their experiment shows how a simple nano-device can generate motion directly from an electrical current. The research has been published in Nature Physics. […]

Scientists observe a single quantum vibration under ordinary conditions

Studying a common material at room temperature, researchers bring quantum behavior “closer to our daily life.” Jennifer Chu | MIT News OfficeOctober 6, 2019 When a guitar string is plucked, it vibrates as any vibrating object would, rising and falling like a wave, as the laws of classical physics predict. But under the laws of […]

A new mathematical approach to understanding zeolites

Study of minerals widely used in industrial processes could lead to discovery of new materials for catalysis and filtering. David L. Chandler | MIT News OfficeOctober 7, 2019 Zeolites are a class of natural or manufactured minerals with a sponge-like structure, riddled with tiny pores that make them useful as catalysts or ultrafine filters. But […]

Oobleck’s weird behavior is now predictable

MIT engineers develop a model that predicts how the cornstarch-water mixture turns from liquid to solid, and back again. Jennifer Chu | MIT News OfficeOctober 5, 2019 It’s a phenomenon many preschoolers know well: When you mix cornstarch and water, weird things happen. Swish it gently in a bowl, and the mixture sloshes around like […]

System helps smart devices find their position

Connected devices can now share position information, even in noisy, GPS-denied areas. Rob Matheson | MIT News OfficeOctober 2, 2019 A new system developed by researchers at MIT and elsewhere helps networks of smart devices cooperate to find their positions in environments where GPS usually fails. Today, the “internet of things” concept is fairly well-known: […]