Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events


Seeking a Balanced Equation


Applied Physics graduate student Peter Hung, working with Professor Roukes, is one of the Caltech students featured in a recent E&S article. “In our lab, we shoot molecules of different sizes and shapes at really small mechanical resonators—tiny bridges almost 1,000 times smaller than the width of your hair—and use the change in the resonant frequency (how fast these bridges are vibrating) to reconstruct the shape and mass of the molecules that we’re shooting,” Hung explains. [E&S article]

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KNI Welcomes New Co-Directors


Founding Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) Board member Professor Nai-Chang Yeh, and KNI Board member Professor Keith Schwab have been appointed to serve as the newly endowed Fletcher Jones Foundation co-directors of the KNI for a 3 year term. "The KNI is a thriving organization serving many researchers on (and off) campus, and I look forward to the energy and creativity that Nai-Chang and Keith will bring to the continued evolution of the KNI as a preeminent organization propelling nanoscience forward in diverse application areas ranging from medical engineering to nanophotonics," says Chair Ares Rosakis. Professors Yeh and Schwab follow in the footsteps of Professors Michael Roukes and Oskar Painter, who have finished a productive tenure in the position as co-directors and are thanked for their tenacity, vision, and leadership. [Caltech Announcement

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Professor Roukes Honored by the French Republic


Michael L. Roukes, Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering, has received the Chevalier de l'ordre des Palmes Académiques, which is the Knight grade of the French Republic's Order of Academic Palms. Founded by Napoleon in 1808 to honor educators and scholars, this distinction recognizes eminent personalities who have made significant contributions to the development of French culture, science, and education. The Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Axel Cruau, presented Professor Roukes with the medal and in his remarks he cited Roukes's collaborations with French research institutions and noted his instrumental role in helping to start the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a national program proposed by President Barack Obama to build a comprehensive map of activity in the human brain. [Caltech Release]

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Weighing Molecules One at a Time


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]

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Accelerating Nanoscience out of the Laboratory and into the Marketplace


The Alliance for Nanosystems VLSI (very-large-scale-integration)—a collaboration between the Kavli Nanoscience Institute and Leti-Minatec in France—has launched its first start-up company. The Alliance, which began informally in 2005, was officially created in 2007 to transform academic, nanotechnology-based prototypes into robust, complex sensing systems and thus accelerate nanoscience out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. The start-up company, Analytical Pixels, will focus on the design, manufacture, and commercialization of multi-gas sensing systems created over the past five years in the field of nanoelectromechanical devices, read-out electronics, and system integration, and built on two decades of prior research carried out at Caltech. [Caltech Feature]

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Professor Roukes Receives NIH Director's Pioneer Award


Michael L. Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering; and Co-Director, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, is a 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Award recipient. This award of the National Institutes of Health supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering—and possibly transforming approaches—to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. To be considered pioneering, the proposed research must reflect ideas substantially different from those already being pursued in the investigator's laboratory or elsewhere.

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Roukes and Rothemund Display Work at MoMA


"If you make structures that are impeccably designed, they also often tend to work really well," says Michael Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering. He along with senior research associate in computation and neural systems and computer science Paul Rothemund are scientists who can now add artist to their resumes. Rothemund's DNA origami and a colorized electron micrograph of Roukes's nanoscience work were displayed in Design and the Elastic Mind at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Roukes's micrograph was even selected for the museum's permanent collection. [Caltech Press Release]

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Michael Roukes Contributes to KCET Episode Exploring Nanotechnology


Nanotechnology: The Power of Small will be broadcast on KCET in Los Angeles on consecutive Mondays in April, beginning April 7, at 8pm. Michael Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering, is a contributor to the second episode which explores nanotechnology’s potential contributions to health and human enhancement.

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