Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events


Nanoscale Materials and Big Solar Energy


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]

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Former Caltech Postdoc Receives Israel Prize


Mordechai (Moti) Segev, a former postdoctoral fellow in Professor Amnon Yariv's group, will be receiving the Israel Prize for Physics and Chemistry. Dr. Segev is receiving the prize for ground-breaking research in the field of optics and lasers. "I am naturally proud of the achievements of former students and postdocs who started their scientific career in my group," says Professor Yariv. "Among this group Moti has become, in the relatively short time since leaving us, one the best known and influential scientists in the world in the field of quantum electronics and its amazing offspring of nonlinear optics. I am looking forward to a continuing stream of intellectual and experimental innovation flowing from him and his research group at the Technion."

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New Home for Interdisciplinary Photonics Research


Professor Harry Atwater is the new Editor-in-Chief of ACS Photonics. View the video to learn more about his research as well as his vision "to create a global home for interdisciplinary photonics research that moves the field forward with intensity and excitement."

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Harry Atwater

Jorgensen Laboratory Wins SCDF Science & Technology Award


The Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory has won the Science and Technology Award from the Southern California Development Forum (SCDF). The building was rededicated in October of 2012 and stands as a symbol of Caltech's lasting commitment to sustainability research. From the early renderings of Fall 2010, Jorgensen was depicted as an innovative space -with communal areas to support collaboration, ample meeting spaces, and state of the art laboratories.

Tags: honors energy Caltech infrastructure Jorgensen Renovation

Spirals of Light May Lead to Better Electronics


Kerry J. Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics as well as Executive Officer for Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have created the optical equivalent of a tuning fork—a device that can help steady the electrical currents needed to power high-end electronics and stabilize the signals of high-quality lasers. They were able to stabilize the light's frequency by developing a silica glass chip resonator with a specially designed path for the photons in the shape of what is called an Archimedean spiral. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS energy Kerry Vahala

Made-to-Order Materials


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues have created nanostructured, hollow ceramic scaffolds, and have found that the small building blocks, or unit cells, display remarkable strength and resistance to failure despite being more than 85 percent air. The general fabrication technique the researchers have developed could be used to produce lightweight, mechanically robust small-scale components such as batteries, interfaces, catalysts, and implantable biomedical devices. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights MedE health MCE Julia Greer

Dr. Davenport Receives Award in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


Timothy C. Davenport, Postdoctoral Scholar in Applied Physics and Materials Science, working with Professor Sossina Haile has been selected by the Solar Program of the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) to receive an EERE postdoctoral research award.

Tags: APhMS honors energy Sossina Haile Timothy Davenport

Producing Squeezed Light Using a Silicon Micromechanical System


Oskar J. Painter, Professor of Applied Physics, and colleagues have produced squeezed light using a silicon micromechanical system. "This system should enable a new set of precision microsensors capable of beating standard limits set by quantum mechanics," says Professor Painter. "Our experiment brings together, in a tiny microchip package, many aspects of work that has been done in quantum optics and precision measurement over the last 40 years." [Caltech Release]

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PhD Comics Features Professor Painter's Research


The research of Oskar J. Painter, Professor of Applied Physics, and his student Amir Safavi-Naeini is featured in an animated videos by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics.  The video is called A Quantum Experiment and is about cooling an oscillator to its ground state. Read Jorge's comments about the project in his post on the IQIM blog. [watch the video] [Caltech release about the research]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Oskar Painter Amir Safavi-Naeini

Creating New Quantum Building Blocks


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]

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