The Michigan Engineer News Center

Professor Li speaks to NPR about the future of roads

Professor Victor Li recently spoke with Michigan Radio, an NPR station, about the struggle to repair damaged bridges and roads.| Short Read

Li may have an answer to this issue: self-healing concrete. Unlike regular concrete, self-healing concrete can bend and repair itself.

“Nacre, the iridescent material on the inside of abalone shell, uses a a ‘brick-layering’ technique that allows the layers to move and slide over one another, giving this very brittle material the ability to behave like a ductile, or flexible one,” the story on Michigan Radio states.

“Li says that this same sort of behavior is accomplished in the self-healing concrete using tons of coated microfibers that allow the concrete to shift and deform slightly when overloaded,” the story continues.

“It will cause these very small, minute motions inside that makes it … look like a metallic material,” Li explains. “It’s very resilient.”

To read the full article, or listen to the piece, please visit

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read