Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events


A New Laser for a Faster Internet


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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ENGenious Wins Silver!


The 2013 issue of ENGenious has won a silver award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII in the Awards of Excellence category of Annual Magazines. The award is given by the CASE District VII Board of Directors and the Awards of Excellence Committee to "superior magazines published once a year." First published in 2001, ENGenious is a publication for alumni and friends of the Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS). The goal of the publication is to highlight the contributions of the EAS faculty, students, and alumni in research, education, and industry. [ENGenious]

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Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser


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


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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Professor Dimotakis Receives AIAA Fluid Dynamics Award


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

Professor Vahala Elected Fellow of IEEE


Kerry J. Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics, has been elected as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Elevation to IEEE Fellow is one of the most prestigious honors given by the IEEE, which is the world's largest professional association.

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Professor Dimotakis Receives NASA Group Achievement Award


Paul E. Dimotakis, John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Applied Physics, and his team have received a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Group Achievement Award for exceptional achievement in the successful negotiation of the new NASA Prime Contract.

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT Paul Dimotakis

How Super-Efficient Nanomaterials Could Herald a Design Revolution


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, was one of the presenters in Caltech’s IDEAS LAB at the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Also presenting at the meeting were Axel Scherer, Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics, and Paul W. Sternberg, Thomas Hunt Morgan Professor of Biology.

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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