Wires and tubes just nanometers in diameter. Materials so thin they are called “two-dimensional.” A polymer film that generates electricity using water vapor. Reengineered cement to reduce carbon emissions. Surfaces and coatings that completely repel water. Tiny ceramics that bend. Nanotechnology is producing materials and structures with an astonishing array of properties and applications.
Nanocrystalline Structures Supplanting Existing Materials
An MIT professor of metallurgy has designed a new nickel-tungsten alloy that could replace chrome with a product that is environmentally friendly, more durable, and cheaper to produce. He has also invented miniscule ceramic objects that can bend—something that was widely considered impossible—and his insights are advancing fundamental research into the molecular formation of metals.
Professor Christopher Schuh
Better Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries have been a major focus of research for use in everything from portable electronics to electric cars. Now, MIT researchers have found a new avenue to produce better batteries: disordered materials, which had been generally considered unsuitable for batteries. The MIT-led team has discovered, however, that disordered materials can improve battery stability without sacrificing performance.
Professor Gerbrand Ceder and colleagues at Brookhaven National Laboratory
Treating Disease with Injectionable Gels
Gels that can be injected into the body, carrying drugs or cells that regenerate damaged tissue, hold promise for treating many types of disease. However, injectionable gels don't always maintain their chemical structure once inside the body. An MIT team has gotten around that by designing a more durable nanostructured gel.
Professor Bradley Olsen '03