Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

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Highlights

Tricking the Uncertainty Principle

05-15-14

Keith Schwab, Professor of Applied Physics and the Fletcher Jones Foundation Co-Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and colleagues have found a way to make measurements that go beyond the limits imposed by quantum physics. "Our mechanical device is a tiny square of aluminum—only 40 microns long, or about the diameter of a hair. We think of quantum mechanics as a good description for the behaviors of atoms and electrons and protons and all of that, but normally you don't think of these sorts of quantum effects manifesting themselves on somewhat macroscopic objects," Schwab says. "This is a physical manifestation of the uncertainty principle, seen in single photons impacting a somewhat macroscopic thing." [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Keith Schwab

Professor Greer Named One of Most Creative People in 2014

05-13-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in 2014. "What if you could fabricate nanotrusses--materials made up of tiny, intricate geometric structures linked together--in a way that might resemble, say, the webwork of the Eiffel Tower?" describes Professor Greer. [Fast Company release] [research highlight]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Julia Greer

Professor Faber Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

04-28-14

Katherine T. Faber, who will be joining the Caltech faculty in July 2014 as the Simon Ramo Professor of Materials Science, has been elected to the 2014 American Academy of Arts and Sciences class of fellows. Professor Faber's research focuses on understanding fracture and toughening of brittle materials such as those used for high-temperature coatings for power generation applications. [Caltech Release]

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Tags: APhMS honors Katherine Faber AAAS

Quantum Photon Properties Revealed in Another Particle—the Plasmon

04-03-14

Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science as well as Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleagues’ experiments have confirmed that two indistinguishable photons can be converted into two indistinguishable surface plasmons that, like photons, display quantum interference. This finding could be important for the development of quantum computing, says Atwater. "Remarkably, plasmons are coherent enough to exhibit quantum interference in waveguides," he says. "These plasmon waveguides can be integrated in compact chip-based devices and circuits, which may one day enable computation and measurement schemes based on quantum interference." [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Harry Atwater

From First Mile to Last Mile

03-24-14

Over his 47 year career, William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, has made seminal contributions to the theory and application of computational materials and molecular science which have led to numerous advances in diverse areas of science and engineering. In celebration of his career and 77th birthday his colleagues, students, and collaborators gathered at a celebration at Caltech entitled Bill Goddard and Computational Materials & Molecular Science: From First Mile to Last Mile. Special guests and speakers included Ares Rosakis, Carver Mead, Harry Gray, nobel laureate Rudolph Marcus and Sadasivan Shankar from Intel Corporation. [Tribute article about Professor Gaddard III]

Tags: APhMS EAS history Ares Rosakis William Goddard Carver Mead Harry Gray Rudolph Marcus

Professor Greer Named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum

03-11-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been selected as a 2014 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Each year the selection Committee, which is headed by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, identifies and recognizes the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world. Candidates are selected based on their proven track record of professional accomplishments, breadth of their expertise, commitment to society and their ability to overcome adversity. [List of 2014 Honourees]

Tags: APhMS honors MedE Julia Greer

A New Laser for a Faster Internet

02-26-14

Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering, and his group have developed a new laser that has the potential to increase by orders of magnitude the rate of data transmission in the optical-fiber network—the backbone of the Internet. "What became the prime motivator for our project was that the present-day laser designs have an internal architecture which is unfavorable for high spectral-purity operation. This is because they allow a large and theoretically unavoidable optical noise to comingle with the coherent laser and thus degrade its spectral purity," Professor Yariv describes. [Caltech Release]

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Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser

02-14-14

William Bridges, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, discovered and patented the Argon ion laser on February 14, 1964, while at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today noble gas (argon, krypton, xenon) lasers are used in a variety of applications including DNA sequencers, cell sorters, eye surgery, and laser light shows. Professor Bridges' research work with lasers involved an airborne night reconnaissance system (AN/AVD-3), space communications systems, early high power laser weapons (the carbon dioxide gas dynamic laser), and hydrogen maser clocks for the global positioning system. He also holds the patent for the Ionized Noble Gas Laser. [Oral History of Prof. Bridges]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights EAS history William Bridges

Nanoscale Materials and Big Solar Energy

02-06-14

As a high school student during the oil crisis of the 1970s, Professor Harry Atwater recognized firsthand the impact of energy supply issues. Inspired to contribute to renewable energies, his research at Caltech today works to develop better thin-film photovoltaics—cheaper, lighter, more efficient alternatives to the bulky cells now used in solar panels. [Interview with Professor Atwater]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Harry Atwater

Professor Dimotakis Receives AIAA Fluid Dynamics Award

02-04-14

Paul E. Dimotakis, John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Applied Physics, has been selected to receive the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fluid Dynamics Award for 2014. The award is for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the behavior of liquids and gases in motion as related to needs in aeronautics and astronautics. Professor Dimotakis is being recognized for "Fundamental contributions to turbulent mixing and combustion through careful and thorough experiments using novel techniques."

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT Paul Dimotakis