School of engineering and applied science

Plant mystery solved

Yale researchers have solved a longstanding mystery about the internal structure of leaves. In plants, the leaf cells start out as tightly compacted spheres in the early stages of development. As the leaf develops and expands, these cells take on new shapes and loosen up. Yet the leaf’s microstructure remains robust and intact. They found that, rather than causing the leaf structure to break down, the cells’ spreading out maintained the leaf’s structure. “The cells in the spongy mesophyll are still pushing outward, while the epidermal tissue in the leaf is keeping it inside,” said coauthor Corey O’Hern, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science.

Yale senior to study democracy reform in Ireland

Rabhya Mehrotra, a Yale senior majoring in computer science and political science, is one of 12 American students selected to study next year in Ireland as 2023 Mitchell Scholars, a one-year program that supports graduate study for students who are considered future leaders. Mehrotra will study political communication at Dublin City University and focus on successful citizens’ assemblies in Ireland. She is especially interested in Ireland’s “We the Citizens” project, an initiative that led to change on same-sex marriage and abortion. She is also eager to use her coding skills for democracy reform. 

Advancing quantum technology

The laboratory of Hong Tang, the Llewellyn West Jones Jr. Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, and Physics, has developed the first on-chip device that can detect up to 100 photons at a time. These detectors are essential to a vast range of quantum applications, including quantum computing, quantum cryptography, and remote sensing. However, current photon counting devices are limited in how many photons they can detect at once—usually only one at a time, and not more than 10. By increasing the capability by up to 100, the Tang lab’s device allows for a broader range of quantum technology applications. 

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