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Tiny particles could help verify goods

15-04-2014

Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report. These illicit products — which include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, and food — can pose safety risks and cost governments and private companies ...

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How electrodes charge and discharge

Analysis probes reactions in porous battery electrodes for the first time

07-04-2014

The electrochemical reactions inside the porous electrodes of batteries and fuel cells have been described by theorists, but never measured directly. Now, a team at MIT has figured out a way to measure the fundamental charge transfer rate — finding some significant surprises. The study found that ...

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Strain can alter materials' properties

New field of 'strain engineering' could open up areas of materials research with many potential applications

04-04-2014

In the ongoing search for new materials for fuel cells, batteries, photovoltaics, separation membranes, and electronic devices, one newer approach involves applying and managing stresses within known materials to give them dramatically different properties. This development has been very ...

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Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth's history

02-04-2014

Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out — by far the largest of this planet's five known mass extinctions. But pinpointing the culprit has been ...

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Secrets of a mollusk's unique bioceramic armor

MIT researchers uncover the secrets behind a marine creature's defensive armor -- 1 that is exceptionally tough, yet optically clear

01-04-2014

The shells of a sea creature, the mollusk Placuna placenta, are not only exceptionally tough, but also clear enough to read through. Now, researchers at MIT have analyzed these shells to determine exactly why they are so resistant to penetration and damage — even though they are 99 percent ...

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New way to filter light

System could provide first method for filtering light waves based on direction

31-03-2014

Light waves can be defined by three fundamental characteristics: their color (or wavelength), polarization, and direction. While it has long been possible to selectively filter light according to its color or polarization, selectivity based on the direction of propagation has remained ...

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Living materials

25-03-2014

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots. These "living materials" combine ...

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Novel membrane reveals water molecules will bounce off a liquid surface

Study may lead to more efficient water-desalination systems, fundamental understanding of fluid flow

18-03-2014

Consider the nearest water surface: a half-full glass on your desk, a puddle outside your window, or a lake across town. All of these surfaces represent liquid-vapor interfaces, where liquid meets air. Molecules of water vapor constantly collide with these liquid surfaces: Some make it through ...

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Bionic plants

18-03-2014

Plants have many valuable functions: They provide food and fuel, release the oxygen that we breathe, and add beauty to our surroundings. Now, a team of MIT researchers wants to make plants even more useful by augmenting them with nanomaterials that could enhance their energy production and give ...

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Two-dimensional material shows promise for optoelectronics

Team creates LEDs, photovoltaic cells, and light detectors using novel 1-molecule-thick material

12-03-2014

A team of MIT researchers has used a novel material that's just a few atoms thick to create devices that can harness or emit light. This proof-of-concept could lead to ultrathin, lightweight, and flexible photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and other optoelectronic devices, they ...

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