News and Events

MIT News: A New Tool Measures the Distance between Phonon Collisions

Tabletop setup provides more nuanced picture of heat production in microelectronics. MIT News highlights Yongjie's work on measuring phonon mean free path distributions with microfabricated nanoscale heaters. This work was published this week on Nature Nanotechnology. Updated Jun. 01, 2015.

MIT News: Tunneling across a Tiny Gap

"Phonon tunneling" explains heat flow across nanometer-wide gaps. MIT News highlights Vazrik's new work on modeling the transition from near-field radiation to phonon thermal conduction. This work was published this week on Nature Communications. Updated Apr. 12, 2015.

Yuan Received MRS Postdoctoral Award

Yuan Yang received 2015 MRS Postdoctoral Award "for innovative research on electrochemical materials and systems to convert low-grade waste heat into electricity and exploration of new applications of batteries". Updated Feb. 24, 2015.

Yuan's Research Among Top 10 World-Changing Ideas in 2014 Picked by Scientific American

Postdoc Yuan Yang's work on thermally regenerative electrochemical cells has been picked by Scientific American as one of the 10 world-changing ideas in 2014. Updated Nov. 30, 2014.

MIT News: Running on Waste Heat

Prof. Chen and his cofounded company GMZ were highlighted in MIT News. Updated Aug. 12, 2014.

MIT News: Refrigerator Magnets

New theory predicts magnets may act as wireless cooling agents. Graduate Student Bolin Liao's new work on magnon cooling effect was published in the journal Physical Review Letters, and highlighted in MIT News. Updated July 25, 2014.

MIT News: Steam from the sun

New spongelike structure converts solar enery into steam. Dr. Hadi Ghasemi's new work on solar steam generation was published in the journal Nature Communications and highlighted in MIT News. Updated July 21, 2014.

Prof. Chen was elected to Academia Sinica

Academia Sinica (Taiwan) announced its newly elected academicians on July 4 after its biennial Convocations of Academicians. Prof. Gang Chen was among the newly elected academians for his contributions in "nanoscale heat transfer and energy technology". Congratulations to Gang! Updated July 6, 2014.

Prof. Chen received the Nukiyama Memorial Award

At the Annual Meeting of the Heat Transfer Society of Japan in Hamamatsu on May 22, 2014, it was announced that the Nukiyama Memorial Award is bestowed to Prof. Gang Chen, for "his outstanding contributions in the field of nanoscale transport and energy conversion phenomena". The Nukiyama Memorial Award commemorates outstanding contributions by Shiro Nukiyama as an excellent heat transfer scientist. Prof. Chen is the second recipient of this award. Congratulations to Gang! Updated May 29, 2014.

MIT News: A new way to harness waste heat

Electrochemical approach has potential to efficiently turn low-grade heat to electricity. A new paper coauthored by postdoc Yuan Yang in NanoEngineering group was recently published in Nature Communications, depicting a novel way of harvesting low-grade waste heat using an electrochemical system. It is also covered by MIT News. Updated May 22, 2014.

Zhiting Tian receives departmental award

Graduate student Zhiting Tian in NanoEngineering group received the Wunsch Foundation Silent Hoist and Crane Award for academic excellence from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Congratulations to Zhiting! Updated May 22, 2014.

MIT News: Solving a mystery of thermoelectrics

New analysis explains why some materials are good thermal insulators while similar ones are not. Sangyeop's new paper titled "Resonant bonding leads to low lattice thermal conductivity" was published on Nature Communications and highlighted in MIT News. Updated Apr. 30, 2014.

Sangyeop Lee won Best Poster Award in IMECE 2013

Graduate student Sangyeop Lee won the Best Poster Award in Micro/Nano Poster Forum of ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, San Diego, with his poster titled "Resonant bonding leads to low thermal conductivity". Updated Nov. 20, 2013.

Maria Luckyanova won DOE Graduate Student Competition

Graduate student Maria Luckyanova won the Department of Energy Office of Science "Graduate Student Competition" at the 2013 EFRC PI Meeting at Washington D.C. in July, representing S3TEC center with her work titled "Coherent Phonon Heat Conduction in Superlattices". Check out the MechE News. Updated Aug. 29, 2013.

Professor Chen named head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Gang Chen has been named head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (MechE), effective July 23. Read the MIT News announcement for more information. Updated July 25, 2013.

Professor Gang Chen received the 75th Anniversary Medal of the ASME Heat Transfer Division

Professor Gang Chen has been selected to receive the 75th Anniversary Medal of the ASME Heat Transfer Division. This award is in recognition for service to the heat transfer community and for contributions to the field of heat transfer. Gang received the award at the 75th Anniversary Awards Ceremony at the ASME 2013 Summer Heat Transfer Conference in Minneapolis, MN on July 15th. Updated July 20, 2013.

Video lectures of 2.57 Nano-to-Macro Transport Processes now online

Video lectures of 2.57 Nano-to-Macro Transport Processes given by Professor Chen recorded in Spring 2012 are now on MIT Open Courseware. Updated Apr. 9, 2013.

MIT News: 'Invisible' particles could enhance thermoelectric devices

Researchers in nanoengineering group propose a new approach, invisible doping, to improve the efficiency of thermoelectric devices. This work was published in Advanced Materials recently, and highlighted in MIT News. Updated Feb. 7, 2013.

Bolin Liao wins Student Poster Award at MRS Fall Meeting 2012

Graduate student Bolin Liao in nanoengineering group won the Student Poster Award for thermoelectric symposium at MRS Fall Meeting 2012 at Boston, MA, for his poster titled "Cloaking core-shell nanoparticles from conducting electrons in solids". The poster was coauthored by former nanoengineering group members Dr. Mona Zebarjadi, Dr. Keivan Esfarjani and Professor Gang Chen. Updated Dec. 1, 2012.

Professor Gang Chen elected as APS Fellow

Professor Gang Chen was recently elected as APS Fellow in 2012. Official quote: "For pioneering contributions to the understanding of heat transfer at nanoscale and to the development of thermoelectric energy conversion technologies". Updated Nov. 29, 2012.

Directional Solvents Desalination Among Top 10 World Changing Ideas 2012, picked by Scientific American

Directional solvents desalination, a new promising method of treating dirty water from fracking for natural gas and oil, was selected as one of Top 10 World Changing Ideas 2012, by Scientific American. Updated Nov. 21, 2012.

MIT News: Controlling heat flow through a nanostructure

Nanoengineering researchers found that heat moving in materials called superlattices behaves like waves. This finding could enable better thermoelectrics. This work was published on Science recently and you can check out the full news article here.

MIT News: "Invisibility" could be a key to better electronics

Researchers in NanoEngineering applied technology developed for visual "cloaking" to enable more efficient transfer of electrons. This work was published on Physics Review Letters and highlighted by Physics Synopsis and Nature Nanotechnology. It also gained some media coverage, such as in MIT news and PhysicsWorld, and was chosen as the cover story of MIT's website on Oct. 15, 2012.

Yongjie Hu wins the Best Poster Award at IMECE 2012

At IMECE 2012 in Houston, Texas, Dr. Yongjie Hu in Nanoengineering group won the Best Poster Award for his poster titled "Hybrid Nanostructures for Nanoscale Heat Transfer". The poster was coauthored by Nanoengineering members Kimberlee Collins, Lingping Zeng, Maria Luckyanova and Professor Gang Chen.

MIT News: Textured surface may boost power output of thin silicon solar cells

Researchers in Nanoengineering group finds new approach to trapping light efficiently in thin-film silicon solar cells. Check out the paper by Anastassios et al., and the news coverage by MIT news office. Updated Jun. 12, 2012

Newborn Professors from Nanoengineering, 2012

Three members in Nanoengineering group were offered faculty positions this year: Dr. Mona Zebarjadi will start as an assistant professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers University in January 2013. Dr. Anastassios Mavrokefalos was appointed as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in Cullen College of Engineering at University of Houston. Dr. Sang Eon Han is now an assistant professor in the department of chemical and nuclear engineering in the University of New Mexico.

Directional Solvents for Treating Dirty Frack Water

Work by Anurag Bajpayee on directional solvents could have significant implications in the treatment of dirty water from fracking for natural gas and oil. Read coverage from Scientific American.

Congratulations MIT NanoEngineering class of 2011

Congratulations to Andy Muto and Austin Minnich on receiving their Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Minnich is joining the mechanical engineering faculty at CalTech and Dr. Muto has taken an industry job with Corning. In addition to the graduates, congratulations are in order for the five post-docs leaving our group. Dr. Nitin Shukla is joining Fraunhofer Institute as a thermal engineer in their building technology group; Dr. Hsien-Ping Feng will be an assistant professor at Hong Kong University; Shuo Chen has been appointed to a senior research associate at Boston College; Dr. Celine Hin is joining the faculty at Virginia Tech; and Dr. Tengfei Luo will be a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Solar Thermoelectric Generators Making News

Thermoelectric devices, which convert heat to electricity, can be used to convert solar power into electrical power. The devices comprise a surface which absorbs the sun's heat; a heat sink that stays at a fixed temperature; and a thermoelectric material between the absorber and the heat sink which converts this temperature difference into an electrical current. The recent NanoEngineering Group paper by Kraemer et. al, published in Nature Materials, has garnered a good deal of press. Read coverage from MIT News or The Economist.

MIT News: Nanofluid Thermal Conductivity

Researchers in Prof. Chen's lab have demonstrated the ability to control the thermal and electrical conductivities of fluids by creating networks of graphite in the solution. Read the full article here.

MIT News: Phonons Explained

Prof. Chen is interviewed for MITnews' "Explained: Phonons" article in their series on current topics in engineering and physics.

Congratulations MIT NanoEngineering class of 2010

Congratulations to Tom Harris, Qing Hao, and Sheng Shen on receiving their Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Harris is a post-doc at Sandia National Labs, Dr. Hao will spend one year as a post-doc for Prof. Ceder at MIT before joining the faculty at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Shen has accepted a faculty position at Carnegie Mellon University.

ASME Launches Professor Gang Chen's Podcast on Thermoelectric Devices

Prof. Chen's Podcast on Thermoelectric Devices is now available under ASME's Nano Educational Series, designed to provide comprehensive introduction to nanotechnology fundamentals and application. Click here to sign up and download this and other complimentary podcasts from experts.

MIT Mechanical Engineering News profiles Professor Gang Chen

Prof. Chen is profiled in MechEConnects, the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department's biannual news magazine, regarding the NanoEngineering Group's research. Read the full article here.

MIT News: Insulators made into conductors

Sheng Shen, Asegun Henry, Jonathan Tong, Ruiting Zheng, and Professor Gang Chen have shown that polymers can be as good conductors as many metals. Their letter, published March 7 in Nature Nanotechnology, describes how drawing polymer fibers causes molecular chain alignment. This alignment leads to the anisotropically high thermal conductivity while maintaining low electrical conductivity. Materials with such properties could be used to solve many thermal management problems. Read the full article in MIT News or Nature.

Professor Gang Chen elected to the National Academy of Engineering

On February 17, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced that Professor Gang Chen has been elected a member of the NAE. They cited his "contributions to heat transfer at the nanoscale and to thermoelectric energy conversion technology." Read the full NAE press release or MIT news.

MIT News: Breaking the law, at the nanoscale

Sheng Shen, Arvind Narayanaswamy, and Professor Gang Chen have proven it possible to break Planck's blackbody radiation law when the distance between objects is on the nanoscale. Careful measurements have shown the heat transfer between two bodies to exceed 1000 times what is predicted by Planck's law. Read the full article in MIT News or Nature.

Professor Gang Chen named to new chair

Professor Gang Chen has been named the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering. C.R. Soderberg taught at MIT from 1938 to 1960, specializing in turbine design.

Congratulations MIT NanoEngineering class of 2009

Congratulations to Asegun Henry and Hohyun Lee on receiving their Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Henry is joining the faculty of Georgia Tech as an assistant professor; Dr. Lee is an assistant professor at Santa Clara University.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu visits MIT

Steven Chu, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, visited MIT to deliver the Compton Lecture. While visiting MIT, he met with various professors, including Professor Gang Chen, to discuss energy issues. At left, Professor Chen presents his research to Secretary Chu.

DOE establishes EFRC under Professor Gang Chen

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $17.5M to create an Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) at MIT under the direction of Professor Gang Chen. The Solid-State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC) will work to create solid-state materials to convert sunlight and heat into electricity.

Sheng Shen wins best presentation award at IMECE 2008

Sheng Shen was awarded the Hewlett-Packard Best Paper Award at the 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition held in November in Boston, Massachusetts, for his presentation titled "Near-field thermal radiation: comparison of numerical results and experiments." The paper was coauthored by MIT NanoEngineering alumnus and Columbia University professor Arvind Narayanaswamy.

Sheng Shen wins best poster award at the Julius Springer Forum on Applied Physics

At the 2008 Julius Springer Forum on Applied Physics, Sheng Shen took home the Best Poster award for his poster titled "Breakdown of the Planck's blackbody radiation law at nanoscale gaps." The poster was coauthored by MIT NanoEngineering group members/alumni Lu Hu, Xiaoyuan Chen, Arvind Narayanaswamy, and Professor Gang Chen.

MIT collaboration wins R&D 100 award

The NanoEngineering Group at MIT, in collaboration with Professor Zhifeng Ren at Boston College and GMZ Energy, Inc. received an R&D 100 award for their development of High Performance Thermoelectric Materials.

MIT News: Engineering new uses for gold

[The team] found that a low concentration of the CTAB in the surrounding solution accelerates heat dissipation after the nanorod is hit with infrared light. When the concentration of CTAB is high, heat is dissipated more slowly. That information could help scientists design nanorods that fight cancer agents by burning away tumor cells when activated with infrared light.

MIT News: Students seek to harness waste heat

Andy Muto and Daniel Kraemer, graduate students in mechanical engineering, and Bryan Ho, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, have been working together on a thermoelectric system that could be installed in a hot-water pipe, or in exhaust flues at the plant, to get some extra electric power from heat currently going to waste.

Professor Gang Chen receives ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award

Professor Gang Chen was awarded the 2008 Heat Transfer Memorial Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in March 2008. The award recognizes Professor Chen's "outstanding contributions to the field of heat transfer through teaching, research, practice and design, or a combination of such activities." The award specifically recognizes Professor Chen in the category of the science of heat transfer.

Science Express Paper: High-Thermoelectric Performance of Nanostructured Bismuth Antimony Telluride Bulk Alloys

Here we show that a peak ZT of 1.4 at 100°C can be achieved in p-type nanocrystalline bismuth antimony telluride bulk alloy. These nanocrystalline bulk materials were made by hot-pressing nanopowders ball-milled from crystalline ingots under inert conditions. More importantly, ZT is about 1.2 at room temperature and 0.8 at 250C, which makes these materials useful for cooling and power generation. This discovery sets the stage for use of a new nanocomposite approach in developing high performance low-cost bulk thermoelectric materials. Full article

Slides and Photos from ENIC 2006

Click here to download slides from the ENIC tutorial sessions and see photos from the conference.

Energy Nanotechnology International Conference @ MIT

The Energy Nanotechnology International Conference was hosted at MIT on June 26-28, 2006. The conference featured invited and contributed presentations, poster sessions, academic, industrial and government panels, and investment opportunities.

Nature Paper: Superplastic Carbon Nanotubes

Conditions have been discovered that allow extensive deformation of rigid single-walled nanotubes.

J. Y. Huang, S. Chen, Z. Q. Wang, K. Kempa, Y. M. Wang, S. H. Jo, G. Chen, M. S. Dresselhaus, Z. F. Ren, "Superplastic carbon nanotubes," Nature 439, 281-281 (19 Jan 2006). Full article

Best Paper Award: InterPACK 2005

Ming-Shan Jeng, Ronggui Yang, David Song, and Gang Chen, "Monte Carlo Simulation of Thermal Conductivity and Phonon Transport in Nanocomposites," Proceedings of InterPACK2005, ASME InterPACK05, July 17-22, 2005, San Francisco, CA, HT2005-72780.

Ronggui Yang Wins the 2005 Goldsmid Award

From the International Thermoelectric Society:
"Ronggui Yang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology met demanding standards to win the 2005 Goldsmid Award for Excellence in Research in Thermoelectrics by a Graduate Student. The Goldsmid Award, presented to Mr. Yang at the ICT2005 banquet, seeks to identify exceptional Ph.D. candidate graduate students who have made unusually notable contributions to thermoelectrics. Mr. Yang's publication record is impressive for anyone, much less for a student." Read more