In a study that modeled financial derivatives, Princeton researchers from the computer science and economics departments found that sellers of complicated investment tools could include BAD ASSETS THAT WOULD BE UNDETECTABLE TO BUYERS. The research team, led by computer science professor Sanjeev Arora, explored the issue of computational complexity in financial products in a working paper released Oct. 19.

A Princeton team led by mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Michael McAlpine has developed a ­silicone rubber film that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The film contains a ceramic material that generates ­electricity when pressure is applied, and it “could ­HARNESS NATURAL BODY MOVEMENTS such as breathing and walking” to power small electronic devices, according to a University news release. McAlpine and his colleagues described the material in a paper published online by Nano Letters Jan. 26.

Princeton physicist Jason Petta and colleagues from the University of California at Santa Barbara demonstrated a new way to ALTER THE PROPERTIES OF A ­SINGLE ELECTRON without disturbing the surrounding electrons. The advance, described in the Feb. 5 issue of Science, could be an important step in the development of quantum computers.