Princeton research benefits sustainability, cybersecurity and other societal goals

Sustainable building materials, a better way of preventing cyberattacks, and a new approach to curbing antibiotic resistance are some of the many faculty-led research projects at Princeton that have the potential to benefit society. These inventions were among those featured at the recent Celebrate Princeton Invention, an annual reception that honors faculty inventors and their research teams. 

Learn more about groundbreaking research with real-world applications from Princeton University researchers through the videos below, and watch and read more on the Celebrate Princeton Invention website.

Durable low-carbon cement for sustainable building

Claire White, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, studies ways to make building materials more sustainable. It turns out that cement production creates a lot of carbon dioxide, so much that it accounts for roughly 5 to 8 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions globally. White and her team are developing new types of cement using industrial byproducts such as coal fly ash and blast-furnace slag. They make these materials more durable by adding nanoparticles.

Watch Assistant Professor Claire White explain her research on a more sustainable type of cement.

Hardware-enhanced approaches to cybersecurity

Ruby Lee, the Forrest G. Hamrick Professor in Engineering and a professor of electrical engineering, is developing ways to enhance cybersecurity using computer hardware rather than software only. Hardware is the fundamental engine upon which all software runs. These hardware-enhanced approaches can make cloud computing and smartphone usage more secure, reduce the risk of downloading unsafe apps, and enhance the reliability of banking, health care and national security.

Watch Professor Ruby Lee explain her research on cybersecurity.

Antibiotics that sensitize bacteria to immune attack

Mark Brynildsen, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, is exploring strategies for making antibiotics that harness the body's innate immune system to help defeat bacteria. Such drugs would be less likely to engender antibiotic resistance because they target bacterial infectivity rather than growth. 

Watch Assistant Professor Mark Brynildsen explain his research on developing new antibiotic drugs.

A microwave laser for quantum computing

Jason Petta, a professor of physics, and his team have developed a quantum-dot microwave laser, or "maser," that is powered by the one-by-one flow of single electrons. The device's low power consumption, coupled with the ability to operate at extremely low temperatures, makes the maser useful for chemical sensing and future quantum computing applications.

Watch Professor Jason Petta explain his invention, a quantum-dot microwave laser.

These videos were created by Evelyn Tu of Flying Camel Media and produced by Catherine Zandonella in the Office of the Dean for Research.