New tools for a new scale

A device that measures the weight of particles lighter than a single molecule of water. A process for quickly designing, testing, and refining nanoscopic patterns on the fly. Using nanowires to sense extremely low-light laser signals. A camera that can measure temperature to one-millionth of a degree. Working at a scale never before possible requires new tools and techniques to get the work done. 

Measuring Microvibration

In a noisy room, the human ear can isolate a single voice—a feat that computers can’t match. By studying the vibration of tiny pores within the ear just a few tenths of nanometers wide, MIT researchers have unlocked the secret of mechanically separating sounds. Their work holds promise for crafting superior speech-recognition technologies.
Professor Dennis Freeman SM '76, PhD '86 and colleagues at the University of Sussex

Tracking Temperature Changes

Hot spots can indicate a defect or even imminent catastrophic failure in microelectric and optoelectronic devices, but were once undetectable at that scale. Now, MIT engineers have created a digital camera that can measure temperature to one-millionth of a degree. The resulting high-resolution thermal images can ferret out those spots where heat may spell trouble or point to potential improvements.
Professor Rajeev J. Ram

Using Magnetic Fields

MIT engineers developed a way to control nanoscale diamond sensors capable of measuring even nanoscale magnetic fields. The sensors could enable researchers to monitor living cells, allowing studies of how they transmit electrical signals to each other. The sensors also could lead to computers that can crack encryptions or quickly search huge databases.
Professor Paola Cappellaro PhD '06 and colleagues from Harvard University and other institutions