Science and Technology 

New Battery Design Extends the Life of Low-Cost, Lightweight Batteries

New battery design could greatly extend the shelf life of single-use metal-air batteries for electric vehicles, off-grid storage, and other applications. Metal-air batteries are one of the lightest and most compact types of batteries available, but they can have a major limitation: When not in use, they degrade quickly, as corrosion eats away at their metal electrodes. Now, MIT researchers have found a way to substantially reduce that corrosion, making it possible for such batteries to have much longer shelf lives. While typical rechargeable lithium-ion batteries only lose about 5 percent of…

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Science and Technology 

Liquid-Gated Membranes Filter Water With Higher Efficiency, Longer Time to Foul

Filtering and treating water, both for human consumption and to clean industrial and municipal wastewater, accounts for about 13 percent of all electricity consumed in the U.S. and releases about 290 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year — roughly equivalent to the combined weight of every human on earth. One of the most common methods of processing water is passing it through a membrane with pores that are sized to filter out particles that are larger than water molecules. However, these membranes are susceptible to “fouling”…

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Science and Technology 

Innovative Approach to Controlling Magnetism Opens Route to Ultra-Low-Power Microchips

A new approach to controlling magnetism in a microchip could open the doors to memory, computing, and sensing devices that consume drastically less power than existing versions. The approach could also overcome some of the inherent physical limitations that have been slowing progress in this area until now. Researchers at MIT and at Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated that they can control the magnetic properties of a thin-film material simply by applying a small voltage. Changes in magnetic orientation made in this way remain in their new state without the need for…

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Science and Technology 

Borophene Breakthrough Provides New Insight Into a Promising Material

The thinnest flake, just one atom thick, has provided scientists at Yale and the Brookhaven National Laboratory with new insight into a promising material for the next generation of high-speed electronics and a host of practical applications. Sheets of boron, or borophene — a close cousin of graphene, a material 200 times stronger than steel that promised to revolutionize electronics — were first theorized in the mid-1990s, but synthesizing the material has defied scientists for almost a decade. These composite materials, atomically thin with the greatest surface-to-mass ratios, are valuable…

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