Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events

Highlights

Disease Diagnosis at the Touch of a Button

02-25-13

Axel Scherer, Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics, and colleagues have built a new version of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device, which generates many copies of a pathogenic nucleic acid, allowing the infection to be detected. The device is the result of nearly 10 years of research at Caltech. In 2004, Scherer, a leader in the field of microfluidics, and George Maltezos were investigating how to manipulate biological fluids on a chip. While this was an interesting engineering problem, Maltezos began to wonder how he could apply the microfluidic techniques that he was perfecting to real-world problems. Then the H5N1 bird flu pandemic erupted in Asia, and the team had their real-world problem. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS EE MedE health Axel Scherer George Maltezos

Creating New Quantum Building Blocks

02-07-13

Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have laid the groundwork for an on-chip optical quantum network by showing that defects in diamond can be used as quantum building blocks that interact with one another via photons. "Right now we only have one nitrogen-vacancy center that's emitting photons, but in the future we envision creating multiple nitrogen-vacancy centers that emit photons on the same chip," Faraon says. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Andrei Faraon

Diving Into the Unknown: An Interview with Andrei Faraon

11-13-12

Assistant Professor and alumnus Andrei Faraon builds devices that are based on the fundamentals of light–matter interaction. He is trying to manipulate single quantum systems in solids—systems like single atoms or single quantum dots—using light. Light is great for this purpose because it allows him to address these systems without destroying their fragile quantum states, and because it can easily interconnect quantum systems over large distances. [Caltech Interview]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Andrei Faraon

Professor Greer Receives NASA Research Grant and Early Career Awards

11-01-12

Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, is among a select group of 10 recipients of NASA's inaugural Space Technology Research Opportunities Early Career Faculty grants. She has also received the 2013 Early Career Faculty Fellow award from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) and the Young Investigator's Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES). Congratulations Professor Greer! [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Julia Greer

Developing the Next Generation of Microsensors

10-19-12

Oskar J. Painter, Professor of Applied Physics; Executive Officer for Applied Physics and Materials Science; and Co-Director, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and colleagues have engineered a microscale optical accelerometer. In addition to transforming consumer electronics, such sensors could help with oil and gas exploration deep within the earth, could improve the stabilization systems of fighter jets, and could even be used in some biomedical applications where more traditional sensors cannot operate. "Professor Painter's research in this area nicely illustrates how the Engineering and Applied Science faculty at Caltech are working at the edges of fundamental science to invent the technologies of the future," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS energy health Oskar Painter

Number One Engineering and Technology University

10-04-12

For the third year the Times Higher Education world university rankings has ranked Caltech as number one in engineering and technology. [View Rankings] [Caltech Feature]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE CMS ESE Graduate school rankings

Professor Greer Receives Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine

10-01-12

Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, is receiving a 2012 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine as part of the team that engineered the world's lightest solid material. "I am delighted that Professor Greer is being honored with this award," says Ares Rosakis, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) at Caltech. "She is a great example of how we in EAS are working at the edges of fundamental science to invent the technologies of the future." [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS MCE Popular Mechanics Julia Greer

Weighing Molecules One at a Time

08-27-12

Michael L. Roukes, Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering as well as Co-Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and colleagues have created the first-ever mechanical device that measures the mass of a single molecule. The device—which is only a couple millionths of a meter in size—consists of a tiny, vibrating bridge-like structure. When a particle or molecule lands on the bridge, its mass changes the oscillating frequency in a way that reveals how much the particle weighs. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Michael Roukes

Solar Loops and Space Weather

08-20-12

Paul M. Bellan, Professor of Applied Physics, and colleagues have reproduced plasma loops in the laboratory to help understand solar physics. "We're studying how these solar loops work, which contributes to the knowledge of space weather," says Professor Bellan, who compares the research to studying hurricanes. For example, you can't predict a hurricane unless you know more about the events that precede it, like high-pressure and low-pressure fronts. The same is true for solar flares. "It takes some time for the plasma to get to Earth from the sun, so it's possible that with more research, we could have up to a two-day warning period for massive solar flares." [Caltech Release] [E&S Article]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Paul Bellan

Professor Daraio Wins Presidential Early Career Award

07-24-12

Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, has won a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Daraio was recognized for her "pioneering contributions to nonlinear mechanical phenomena in acoustic crystals, granular material, and multifunctional nanostructures, and for mentoring women and providing research opportunities for high school and undergraduate students."

"The entire Caltech community is proud to see Professor Daraio recognized with this presidential honor, not only for her pioneering research accomplishments, but also for her commitment to students and diversity," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "Even though she is near the beginning of her career she already embodies the key attributes of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech." [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS honors Chiara Daraio GALCIT PECASE