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Program Highlights for year 2009

Discovery of a Topological Insulator Bi2Se3 with a Single Surface Dirac Cone

Research

In an ordinary insulator, such as diamond, the occupied electronic states are separated from unoccupied states by a large energy “gap”. The gap prevents current flow when an electric field is applied. Recent research has uncovered a new class of insulators, called topological insulators, in which electrons can bypass the energy gap by moving in surface states. The energy vs.

(2009)

High-energy batteries using genetically-engineered viruses

Research

Professor Belcher previously engineered viruses that could build an anode by coating themselves with cobalt oxide and gold and self-assembling to form a nanowire.

(2009)

Origin of the Colossal Electromagnon in Multiferroic RMnO3

Research

In multiferroic materials, where magnetism and ferroelectricity coexist, it is possible to excite mixed spin and lattice vibrations with electromagnetic waves called electromagnons. We find that the mechanism responsible for electromagnons is different from the one that couples static magnetism and ferroelectricity.

(2009)

CRISP High resolution non-contact Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

Research

Understanding the locations of atoms as they are deposited on a surface is critical for growing interfaces of electronicÂ’  device quality.

(2009)

Seeing is Believing

Education

Made possible by a grant from the Connecticut Office of Workforce Competitiveness (OWC) the goal is to provide Connecticut's teachers with cutting edge imaging tools for their classrooms. A table top scanning electron microscope (mini-SEM) with elemental analysis capabilities was purchased. Typical SEMs are large and require extensive training and maintenance.

(2009)

Magnetically-responsive stiffness of carbon nanotube arrays

Research

Professor Buehler of IRG-II has employed atomistic-based multiscale simulations to theoretically demonstrate the concept of “mechanomutability," i.e. the capability of a material to change its mechanical properties reversibly in response to an external stimulus.

(2009)

Cooking and Science: A Conversation on Creativity

Education

With over 2 million requests annually for only 8,000 reservations at El Bulli, the renowned restaurant is harder to get into than Harvard.

(2009)

New Ordered Hierarchical Helical Assemblies

Research

Mesoscale hierarchical helical structures with diverse functions are abundant in nature.

(2009)

Self-Limited Self-Assembly of Chiral Subunits

Research

A simple computational model demonstrates the assembly of self-limited filamentous bundles. The images are taken from dynamic Monte Carlo simulations in which chiral subunits spontaneously assemble under different interaction strengths and degrees of chirality.

(2009)

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