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The iconic MIT home page Spotlight features a daily-changing image and design that focuses on advances in research, technology and education taking place at the Institute. Though some Spotlights do run multiple days - for example Friday's spot usually runs through the weekend, we work very hard to maintain the daily-changing tradition. We've combed our servers and have compiled a digital archive of the Institute home page through the years - well over 2000 images. Enjoy!
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2-D nanoelectronicsToday’s Spotlight features an illustration by Yan Liang.

Researchers at MIT say they have carried out a theoretical analysis showing that a family of two-dimensional materials exhibits exotic quantum properties that may enable a new type of nanoscale electronics.

These materials are predicted to show a phenomenon called the quantum spin Hall (QSH) effect, and belong to a class of materials known as transition metal dichalcogenides, with layers a few atoms thick. The findings are detailed in a paper appearing this week in the journal Science.

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The MIT home page Spotlight showcases the research, technology and education advances taking place at the Institute every day.

What makes it as a Spotlight image is an editorial decision by the MIT News Office based on factors that include timeliness, promotion of MIT's mission, the balance of interest to both internal and external audiences, and appropriateness.

We do welcome ideas and submissions for spotlights from community members, but please note we are not able to accommodate all requests. We are unable to run event previews or promotions as spotlights; for those looking to promote an event, we are happy to include your listing as an event headline on the homepage (when space is available). For more information, e-mail the spotlight team.

Request a Spotlight or Event Headline, here.
Swim for your supper

Swim for your supper

Today’s Spotlight features an image courtesy of John R. Taylor and Roman Stocker. Numerical simulations were used to study how efficiently swimming bacteria could find and consume nutrients dissolved in seawater, compared to non‑swimming bacteria. In this still image from the simulation, a patch of nutrients was released and quickly became distorted by the turbulent motion of the water, forming filaments. Bacteria started out uniformly distributed, but quickly clustered around the nutrient filaments. Colors show the concentration of bacteria in blue, green and yellow, in order of increasing concentration. Red shows the areas of highest concentrations of nutrients.

For the kinds of animals that are most familiar to us — ones that are big enough to see — it’s a no‑brainer: Is it better to sit around and wait for food to come to you, or to move around and find it? Larger animals that opt to sit around aren’t likely to last long.

But for bacteria out in the ocean, the question is a far more complicated one.

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