Welcome

Welcome to the MIT Device Research Laboratory (DRL) under the direction of Dr. Evelyn Wang in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT.

The DRL combines fundamental studies of micro and nanoscale heat and mass transport processes with the development of novel nanostructured materials to create innovative solutions in thermal management, thermal energy storage, solar thermal energy conversion, and water desalination. We leverage state-of-the-art micro/nanofabrication, unique measurement, and model prediction capabilities to enable mechanistic insights into complex fluid, interfacial, and thermal transport processes. This approach has led to new and important functionalities to enhance heat and mass transfer for various applications.

 

Recent News

02/01/2021: Simple, solar-powered water desalination featured as Top MIT research stories of 2020 and covered by Scientific American


Congratulations to Zhenyuan Xu, Lenan Zhang, Lin Zhao, Bikram Bhatia, Kyle Wilke, Youngsup Song and their collaborators in China for their work on ultrahigh-efficiency solar-powered water desalination featured as Top MIT research stories of 2020 on MIT News and covered by Scientific American! This work demonstrated a record-high solar-to-vapor conversion efficiency of 385% with a production rate of 5.78 L m-2 h-1 using a low-cost and free-of-salt accumulation multistage architecture. This work elucidates the fundamental limit of the solar-to-vapor conversion process and provides useful design guideline for existing passive solar thermal desalination technologies. Image credits to MIT News.

Read more on MIT News, Scientific American, and read the paper here.

 

12/07/2020: Congratulations to Lenan Zhang for winning the best poster award at MRS 2020 Fall meeting


Congratulations to Lenan Zhang for winning the best poster award at MRS 2020 Fall meeting!

Read more about his work on measuring thermal expansion coefficient of 2D materials using micro-Raman spectroscopy here.

 

12/02/2020: Nucleation Site Distribution Probed by Phase-Enhanced Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy

Congratulations to Lenan Zhang, Ryuichi Iwata, Lin Zhao, Shuai Gong, Zhengmao Lu, Zhenyuan Xu, Yang Zhong, Jinlong Zhu, Samuel Cruz, Kyle Wilke, and Professor Ping Cheng at Shanghai Jiao Tong University for their recent work of Nucleation Site Distribution Probed by Phase-Enhanced Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy featured on MIT News! In this work, we report direct experimental observation of nucleation site distribution in droplet condensation using phase-enhanced environmental scanning electron microscopy. Using statistical theory, we demonstrate that the population and spatial distribution of nucleation sites are governed by the Poisson and Rayleigh distribution, respectively. We further show the broad applicability of these insights into nucleation site distribution to hydrogen-evolving reactions and chemical vapor deposition. Our platform, combining precise characterization and theory, advances the fundamental understanding of nucleation phenomena and guides designs from materials to devices. Read more on MIT News, and read the paper here.

 

11/18/2020: A Passive High-Temperature High-Pressure Solar Steam Generator for Medical Sterilization

Congratulations to Lin Zhao, Bikram Bhatia, Lenan Zhang, Elise Strobach, Arny Leroy, Sungwoo Yang as well as their collaborators for their recent work on A Passive High-Temperature High-Pressure Solar Steam Generator for Medical Sterilization, which was featured on MIT News and Nature Research Highlights! In this work, we demonstrated a passive solar thermal device mostly built from low-cost off-the-shelf components capable of delivering saturated and pressurized steam to drive sterilization cycles even under hazy and partly cloudy weather. Enabled by an optimized ultra-transparent silica aerogel, the device utilizes an efficient thermal concentration strategy to locally increase the heat flux and temperature obviating the need for active optical concentrators. With almost 2× higher energy efficiency (47%) than those previously reported at 100°C, the device demonstrated successful sterilization in a field test performed in Mumbai, India. In addition to enabling passive sterilization, this work promises the development of solar thermal energy systems for saturated steam generation in energy conversion, storage, and transport applications.

Read more on MIT News, Nature, The Economist, and Physics World, and read the paper here.