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MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) articles

Displaying 1 - 20 of 26

Glowing plants could be the electrical lighting of the future

Glowing plants could be the electrical lighting of the future
Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk. MIT engineers have taken a critical first step toward making that vision a reality. By embedding specialised nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, they induced the plants to give off dim light for nearly four hours. They believe that, with further optimisation, such plants will one day be bright enough to illuminate a workspace.
14th December 2017

Devices could be used as flexible connectors for electronics

Devices could be used 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 and stretch without damage. The devices could find uses in cables to connect computing devices, or in diagnostic and monitoring systems that could be attached to the skin or implanted in the body, flexing easily with the natural tissue.
8th November 2017

Terahertz laser could be used for chemical detection

Terahertz laser could be used for chemical detection
For more than 20 years, Qing Hu, a distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and his group have been working on sources of terahertz radiation that can be etched onto microchips. In the latest issue of Nature Photonics, members of Hu’s group and colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Toronto describe a novel design that boosts the power output of chip-mounted terahertz lasers by 80%.
11th August 2017


Controlling fluids on a surface using only visible light

Controlling fluids on a surface using only visible light
A system developed by engineers at MIT could make it possible to control the way water moves over a surface, using only light. This advance may open the door to technologies such as microfluidic diagnostic devices whose channels and valves could be reprogrammed on the fly, or field systems that could separate water from oil at a drilling rig, the researchers say.
27th April 2017

Reducing the number of exposures in 'lensless imaging'

Reducing the number of exposures in 'lensless imaging'
Reporting their results in the journal IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging, researchers from the MIT Media Lab now describe a technique that makes image acquisition using compressed sensing 50 times as efficient. In the case of the single-pixel camera, it could get the number of exposures down from thousands to dozens. One intriguing aspect of compressed-sensing imaging systems is that, unlike conventional cameras, they don’t require lenses.
31st March 2017

The latest resource for optical chips

The latest resource for optical chips
The Semiconductor Industry Association has estimated that at current rates of increase, computers’ energy requirements will exceed the world’s total power output by 2040. Using light rather than electricity to move data would dramatically reduce computer chips’ energy consumption, and the past 20 years have seen remarkable progress in the development of silicon photonics, or optical devices that are made from silicon so they can easily be integrated with electronics on silicon chips.
21st February 2017

Low-power tabletop could replace car-size lab devices

Low-power tabletop could replace car-size lab devices
Ultrashort bursts of electrons have several important applications in scientific imaging, but producing them has typically required a costly, power-hungry apparatus about the size of a car. In the journal Optica, researchers at MIT, the German Synchrotron, and the University of Hamburg in Germany describe a technique for generating electron bursts, which could be the basis of a shoebox-sized device that consumes only a fraction as much power as its predecessors.
22nd November 2016

Laser particles could provide sharper images of tissues

Laser particles could provide sharper images of tissues
A new imaging technique developed by scientists at MIT, Harvard University, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) aims to illuminate cellular structures in deep tissue and other dense and opaque materials. Their method uses tiny particles embedded in the material, that give off laser light. The team synthesised these “laser particles” in the shape of tiny chopsticks, each measuring a small fraction of a human hair’s width.
4th November 2016

Stretchy optical fibres for implanting in the body

Stretchy optical fibres for implanting in the body
Researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have developed a biocompatible and highly stretchable optical fibre made from hydrogel — an elastic, rubbery material composed mostly of water. The fibre, which is as bendable as a rope of licorice, may one day be implanted in the body to deliver therapeutic pulses of light or light up at the first sign of disease. The researchers say the fiber may serve as a long-lasting implant that would bend and twist with the body without breaking down.
17th October 2016

Judging a book through its cover

Judging a book through its cover
  In the latest issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe a prototype of the system, which they tested on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets.
19th September 2016

Light adds extra layer of control over genome editing

Light adds extra layer of control over genome editing
The genome-editing system known as CRISPR allows scientists to delete or replace any target gene in a living cell. MIT researchers have now added an extra layer of control over when and where this gene editing occurs, by making the system responsive to light. With the system, gene editing takes place only when researchers shine ultraviolet light on the target cells.
25th August 2016

Shortwave IR instrument can improve ear infection diagnosis

Shortwave IR instrument can improve ear infection diagnosis
A new device developed by researchers at MIT and a physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center could greatly improve doctors’ ability to accurately diagnose ear infections. That could drastically reduce the estimated 2 million cases per year in the United States where such infections are incorrectly diagnosed and unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed. Such overprescriptions are considered a major cause of antibiotic resistance.
23rd August 2016

Helping the 2020 Mars rover to find signs of life

Helping the 2020 Mars rover to find signs of life
In 2020, NASA plans to launch a new Mars rover that will be tasked with probing a region of the planet scientists believe could hold remnants of ancient microbial life. The rover will collect samples of rocks and soil, and store them on the Martian surface; the samples would be returned to Earth sometime in the distant future so that scientists can meticulously analyse the samples for signs of present or former extraterrestrial life.
16th August 2016

Laser pulses could enable long-distance monitoring

Laser pulses could enable long-distance monitoring
Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found a way of using mid-infrared lasers to turn regions of molecules in the open air into glowing filaments of electrically charged gas, or plasma. The method could make it possible to carry out remote environmental monitoring to detect a wide range of chemicals with high sensitivity. The system makes use of a mid-infrared ultra-fast pulsed laser system to generate the filaments, whose colors can reveal the chemical fingerprints of different molecules.
28th June 2016

Eye-tracking system uses ordinary smartphone camera

Eye-tracking system uses ordinary smartphone camera
  For the past 40 years, eye-tracking technology - which can determine where in a visual scene people are directing their gaze - has been widely used in psychological experiments and marketing research, but it’s required pricey hardware that has kept it from finding consumer applications.
16th June 2016

'Phase locking' lasers could enable terahertz scanners

'Phase locking' lasers could enable terahertz scanners
  Terahertz radiation - the band of electromagnetic radiation between microwaves and visible light - has promising applications in security and medical diagnostics, but such devices will require the development of compact, low-power, high-quality terahertz lasers.
13th June 2016

A way of turning electricity into light using graphene

A way of turning electricity into light using graphene
When an airplane begins to move faster than the speed of sound, it creates a shockwave that produces a well-known "boom" of sound. Now, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have discovered a similar process in a sheet of graphene, in which a flow of electric current can, under certain circumstances, exceed the speed of slowed-down light and produce a kind of optical "boom": an intense, focused beam of light.
13th June 2016

Mixing solids & liquids enhances optical properties of both

Mixing solids & liquids enhances optical properties of both
By immersing glass particles in a fluid, researchers at MIT’s Media Lab and Harvard University are exploring a new mechanism for modifying an optical device’s diffusivity, or the extent to which it scatters light. In its current form, the new diffuser could be used to calibrate a wide range of imaging systems, but the researchers believe that their mechanism could ultimately lead to holographic video screens or to tunable optical devices with applications in imaging, sensing and photography.
10th June 2016

High-res technique finds major gene transcription regulator

High-res technique finds major gene transcription regulator
Gene transcription is the process by which DNA is copied and synthesised as messenger RNA (mRNA)—which delivers its genetic blueprints to the cell's protein-making machinery. Now researchers at MIT and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) have identified a hidden, ephemeral phenomenon in cells that may play a major role in jump-starting mRNA production and regulating gene transcription.
26th May 2016

Develop of photonic devices with one-way traffic lanes

Develop of photonic devices with one-way traffic lanes
Researchers at MIT and other institutions have found a new phenomenon in the behavior of plasmons as they move along tiny ribbons of two-dimensional materials such as graphene and TMDs, which have a hexagonal structure resembling chicken wire. The team found that these plasmons can be separated into two different streams moving in opposite directions at the edges of the ribbons, like traffic on a two-lane highway, without the need for strong magnetic fields or other exotic conditions.
21st March 2016


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