Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events

Highlights

The Physics of Going Viral

06-28-12

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, and colleagues have measured the rate of DNA transfer from viruses to bacteria. They wanted to find out whether pressure plays a dominant role in transferring the DNA. Instead, he says, "What we discovered is that the thing that mattered most was not the pressure in the bacteriophage, but how much DNA was in the bacterial cell." When the bacteriophages try to inject their DNA into the cells, the factor that limits the rate of transfer is how jam-packed those cells are.  "In this case," Phillips says, "it had more to do with the recipient, and less to do with the pressure that had built up inside the phage." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights health Rob Phillips

Winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced

06-14-12

The student winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special luncheon with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Philip Romero received the prize in Biotechnology for his work on developing statistical models of proteins with Frances Arnold. Michael Mello was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Ares Rosakis on developing a novel methodology for identifying the unique ground motion signatures of supershear earthquakes. Leslie O’Leary received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her pathbreaking work on the properties of semiconductor interfaces with Nate Lewis and Bob Grubbs. This year there were two winners for the prize in Nanotechnology. One winner was Andrew Jennings for his experimental and modeling work in nanomechanics with Julia Greer. The other winner of the Nanotechnology prize was Jordan Raney who has worked with Chiara Daraio to develop new chemical synthesis methods to control the properties of carbon nanotubes.

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT MCE Nate Lewis Julia Greer Ares Rosakis Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Philip Romero Frances Arnold. Michael Mello Leslie O’Leary Bob Grubbs Andrew Jennings Jordan Raney

APhMS and EE Students Engineer a One-of-a-kind Machine

06-13-12

Applied Physics graduate student, Peter Hung, along with Electrical Engineering undergraduate students Julie Jester, Jeff Sherman, and Sean Keenan, worked with a team of engineering students from across the country to create a one-of-a-kind machine for sharing a Coke.

Tags: APhMS EE Peter Hung Julie Jester Jeff Sherman Sean Keenan

Better, Stronger, Lighter Armor

05-22-12

Kaushik Bhattacharya, Howell N. Tyson, Sr., Professor of Mechanics and Professor of Materials Science, is the Caltech lead on a $90 million U.S. Army Research Laboratory funded program to improve protective gear and vehicles for soldiers. "…studying materials in very extreme conditions is an area where Caltech engineering really stand out," says Bhattacharya. "The tools we bring, on both the theoretical and experimental sides uniquely bridge deep fundamental principles with unprecedented application.” [Caltech Feature]

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Tags: APhMS GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran Julia Greer William Goddard Michael Ortiz Dennis Kochmann Kaushik Bhattacharya

Professor Atwater Receives ENI Award

05-17-12

Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; as well as Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleague Albert Polman of the Dutch Research Institute AMOLF have been awarded the ENI Award in Renewable and Nonconventional Energy for research on high-efficiency solar cells based on nanophotonic design.

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Tags: APhMS honors Harry Atwater

Liquid-like Materials May Pave Way for New Thermoelectric Devices

03-23-12

Jeff Snyder, Faculty Associate in Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have identified a liquid-like compound whose properties give it the potential to be even more efficient than traditional thermoelectrics. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Jeff Snyder

Plasmas Torn Apart

02-15-12

Using high-speed cameras to look at jets of plasma in the lab, Paul M. Bellan, Professor of Applied Physics, and colleagues have made a discovery that may be important in understanding phenomena like solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source. "Trying to understand nature by using engineering techniques is indeed a hallmark of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech," says Ares Rosakis, Chair of the Engineering and Applied Science Division. [Caltech release] [Plasma movie]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Paul Bellan

EAS Alumni Named to Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30

01-30-12

Alumni Jessie Rosenberg (PhD '10 Applied Physics) and Kelly Littlepage (BS '09 Control and Dynamical Systems) have been named to Forbes magazine's 30 Under 30, a list of notable leaders who have yet to reach their 30th birthdays. The list honors people from 12 fields that range from finance and science to music and entertainment. Rosenberg was named in the science and innovation category and Littlepage was named in the finance category. [Caltech Feature] [Forbes List]

Tags: APhMS CMS alumni Jessie Rosenberg Kelly Littlepage

Explaining Superconductivity at High Temperatures

12-16-11

William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, and colleagues have developed a hypothesis to explain the strange behavior of high-temperature superconductors—copper oxides, or cuprates, that conduct electricity without any resistance at temperatures much higher than other superconducting metals. Their hypothesis also points the way to a method for making even higher-temperature superconductors. [Caltech press release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights William Goddard

Four EAS Faculty Receive Named Chairs

12-14-11

Professors James (Jim) L. Beck, Sossina M. Haile, Melany L. Hunt, and Rob Phillips have received named chairs.  Jim Beck has been named the George W. Housner Professor of Engineering and Applied Science.  Sossina Haile has been named the Carl F Braun Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. Melany Hunt has been named the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Rob Phillips has been named the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology.

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Tags: APhMS honors research highlights MCE Sossina Haile James Beck Rob Phillips Melany Hunt