Category Archives: Science & Technology

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

Pocket-sized device detects charged particles in surrounding air BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — At any given moment, the Earth’s atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic

Researchers develop flexible, stretchable photonic devices

>>Light-based devices could be used as biomedical sensors or as flexible connectors for electronics. 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

A new way to mix oil and water

>>Condensation-based method developed at MIT could create stable nanoscale emulsions. The reluctance of oil and water to mix together and stay that way is so well-known that it has become a cliché for describing any two things that do not go together well. Now, a

3-D-printed device builds better nanofibers

Printed nozzle system could make uniform, versatile fibers at much lower cost BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Meshes made from fibers with nanometer-scale diameters have a wide range of potential applications, including tissue engineering, water filtration, solar cells, and even body armor. But

Researchers bring optical communication onto silicon chips

Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers BY HELEN KNIGHT, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The huge increase in computing performance in recent decades has been achieved by squeezing ever more transistors into a

Toward efficient high-pressure desalination

>>Surprisingly, pressurization isn’t to blame for fouling of membranes, study finds. BY DAVID L. CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The desalination industry, a critical source of potable water in many arid regions, generated more than $13 billion last year and is expected to double

Engineers identify key to albatross’ marathon flight

>> Flying in shallow arcs helps birds stay aloft with less effort BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The albatross is one of the most efficient travelers in the animal world. One species, the wandering albatross, can fly nearly 500 miles in a single

Technique spots warning signs of extreme events

>> Method may help predict hotspots of instability affecting climate, aircraft performance, and ocean circulation BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Many extreme events — from a rogue wave that rises up from calm waters, to an  instability inside a gas turbine, to the