Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events


Experiments Settle Long-Standing Debate about Mysterious Array Formations in Nanofilms


Sandra M. Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues' experiments have confirmed which of three possible mechanisms is responsible for the spontaneous formation of three-dimensional (3-D) pillar arrays in nanofilms (polymer films that are billionths of a meter thick). "My ultimate goal is to develop a suite of 3-D lithographic techniques based on remote, digital modulation of thermal, electrical, and magnetic surface forces," Troian says. Confirmation of the correct mechanism has allowed her to deduce the maximum resolution or minimum feature size ultimately possible with these patterning techniques. [Caltech Press Release]

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Strong, Tough, and Now Cheap: New Way to Process Metallic Glass


William L. Johnson, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, and his team of researchers have developed a new technique that allows them to make metallic-glass parts utilizing the same inexpensive processes used to produce plastic parts. "We've taken the economics of plastic manufacturing and applied it to a metal with superior engineering properties,” Professor Johnson says. "We end up with inexpensive, high-performance, precision net-shape parts made in the same way plastic parts are made—but made of a metal that's 20 times stronger and stiffer than plastic.” [Caltech Press Release]

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Professor Greer Receives DOE Early Career Research Award


Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has received a five-year award from the Department of Energy Office of Science's Early Career Research Program for her proposal entitled “Investigation of radiation damage tolerance in interfaceā€containing metallic nano structures”. These research awards provide incentives for exceptional researchers, during the crucial early career years, to focus on research areas that are a high priority for the Department of Energy and the Nation. [Caltech Feature]

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Professor Haile Receives Humanitarian Award


Sossina M. Haile, Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, is a recipient of the David Chow Humanitarian Foundation Award for her "extraordinary humanitarian work on developing long-term, sustainable energy solutions".  

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Professor Greer Receives 2011 TMS Young Leader Professional Development Award


Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, is one of ten, and the only female, to receive the 2011 TMS Young Leader Professional Development Award. This award gives young members of the Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS) the opportunity to advance in the field of Materials Science through interaction with TMS division leaders, and participation in the decision-making and long range planning of the society. Congratulations Professor Greer! [The Young Leader Newsletter]

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How an Idea Becomes a Business


Students in Ken Pickar's course Entrepreneurial Development (E 102) have the opportunity to identify a technology currently under study at Caltech and develop a business plan for it. The ideas used by the students this year included a solid-state memory technology developed by Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering. In this business plan the students proposed targeting Netflix and other high-volume streaming content providers. Another team pinpointed a new market for the vertical wind turbines of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering. A third team pitched a noninvasive method for breaking up arterial plaques using the concentrated-acoustic-pulse technology developed by Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT Jehoshua Bruck John Dabiri Ken Pickar

Professor Atwater Elected Fellow of the Materials Research Society


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; and Director of Resnick Institute, has been elected a 2011 Materials Research Society (MRS) Fellow.  The title of MRS Fellow honors those MRS members who are notable for their distinguished research accomplishments and their outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research, world-wide. The maximum number of new Fellow appointments each year is limited to 0.2% of the current MRS membership. The distinction is thus highly selective.

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Professor Daraio Named Sloan Research Fellow


Congratulations to Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, for receiving a 2011 Sloan Research Fellowship. The Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded yearly to 118 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.[Caltech Release]

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New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight


Sossina Haile, Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, and colleagues have built a reactor at the heart of which is a cylindrical lining of ceria—a metal oxide. The reactor takes advantage of ceria's ability to "exhale" oxygen from its crystalline framework at very high temperatures and then "inhale" oxygen back in at lower temperatures - concentrating solar energy in order to convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels .  Ultimately, Haile says, the process could be adopted in large-scale energy plants, allowing solar-derived power to be reliably available during the day and night. [Caltech Press Release]

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Professor Greer Receives 2010 World Technology Award in Materials


Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, is the winner of The 2010 World Technology Award in Materials.
Congratulations Professor Greer!

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