Postdoctoral fellow Bonna Newman, PhD â€™08 and Tonio Buonassisi, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing, worked on the project
A chip is heated and cooled (left), made from silicon (right) supersaturated with copper, iron and nickel
You might think it was a simple law of physics that most solids melt as they get hotter, and harden as they get colder. A few materials, however, do just the opposite – they melt as they cool. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently discovered that by dissolving certain metals into silicon, they can add that silicon compound to the relatively short list of exotic substances that exhibit retrograde melting. Their accomplishment could ultimately result in less expensive solar cells and electronic devices.
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