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Surfaces get smooth or bumpy on demand

MIT research produces soft material with controllable surface textures that can be varied by squeezing

15-Jun-2015

An MIT team has developed a way of making soft materials, using a 3-D printer, with surface textures that can then be modified at will to be perfectly smooth, or ridged or bumpy, or even to have complex patterns that could be used to guide fluids.The process, developed using detailed computer ...

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MIT team creates ultracold molecules

At near absolute zero, molecules may start to exhibit exotic states of matter

15-Jun-2015

The air around us is a chaotic superhighway of molecules whizzing through space and constantly colliding with each other at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. Such erratic molecular behavior is normal at ambient temperatures.But scientists have long suspected that if temperatures were to ...

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Researchers build new fermion microscope

Instrument freezes and images 1,000 individual fermionic atoms at once

19-May-2015

Fermions are the building blocks of matter, interacting in a multitude of permutations to give rise to the elements of the periodic table. Without fermions, the physical world would not exist.Examples of fermions are electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, and atoms consisting of an odd number of ...

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New tabletop detector 'sees' single electrons

Magnet-based setup may help detect the elusive mass of neutrinos

23-Apr-2015

MIT physicists have developed a new tabletop particle detector that is able to identify single electrons in a radioactive gas.As the gas decays and gives off electrons, the detector uses a magnet to trap them in a magnetic bottle. A radio antenna then picks up very weak signals emitted by the ...

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Thousands of atoms entangled with a single photon

Result could make atomic clocks more accurate

27-Mar-2015

Physicists from MIT and the University of Belgrade have developed a new technique that can successfully entangle 3,000 atoms using only a single photon. The results, published in the journal Nature, represent the largest number of particles that have ever been mutually entangled experimentally. ...

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New detector sniffs out origins of methane

Instrument identifies methane's origins in mines, deep-sea vents, and cows

09-Mar-2015

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea vents, and livestock. Understanding the sources of methane, and how the gas is formed, ...

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How to make a 'perfect' solar absorber

New system aims to harness the full spectrum of available solar radiation

02-Oct-2014

The key to creating a material that would be ideal for converting solar energy to heat is tuning the material's spectrum of absorption just right: It should absorb virtually all wavelengths of light that reach Earth's surface from the sun — but not much of the rest of the spectrum, since that ...

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Recycling old batteries into solar cells

Proposal could divert a dangerous waste stream while producing low-cost photovoltaics

21-Aug-2014

This could be a classic win-win solution: A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power. The system is described in a paper in the journal ...

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New ultrastiff, ultralight material developed

New ultrastiff, ultralight material developed Nanostructured material based on repeating microscopic units has record-breaking stiffness at low density.

01-Jul-2014

What's the difference between the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument? Both structures soar to impressive heights, and each was the world's tallest building when completed. But the Washington Monument is a massive stone structure, while the Eiffel Tower achieves similar strength using a ...

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A new way to make sheets of graphene

28-May-2014

Graphene's promise as a material for new kinds of electronic devices, among other uses, has led researchers around the world to study the material in search of new applications. But one of the biggest limitations to wider use of the strong, lightweight, highly conductive material has been the ...

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