The Michigan Engineer News Center

Give Earth [another] chance

50 years after the first Earth Day, the next generation is rewriting the rules.| Long Read
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IMAGE:  Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD candidate Avery Carlson does research at the Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant. PHOTO: Joseph Xu

Ross Vander Meulen is far too young to remember the 1948 Donora Smog, when air pollution over a Pennsylvania steel town grew so toxic that it killed 20 people and sickened thousands more. At 23, he doesn’t remember the Los Angeles of the 1950s, when small children sometimes fainted from the smog. It seems unimaginable to him that, in 1969, a sheen of toxins coating Ohio’s Cuyahoga River burst into flame.

The former civil and environmental engineering graduate student has grown up in an America relatively free of the unchecked pollution that was commonplace in the early and middle 20th century. And it didn’t happen by accident.

This excerpt is republished from Michigan Engineering. Read the full article here.

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