Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events

Highlights

2017 ASCIT Teaching Award

06-23-17

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology , has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2017 ASCIT Teaching Awards. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors Rob Phillips

A Rainbow of Possibilities

06-21-17

Professor Andrei Faraon, graduate student Ehsan Arbabi, and their colleagues have developed a metasurface or a sheet of material that can be altered on demand to exhibit properties not usually found in natural materials. For example, materials engineered at the nanoscale can control the dispersion of light and could be the basis of next-generation spectrometers and other imaging devices. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Andrei Faraon Ehsan Arbabi

2017 Library Thesis Prize

06-20-17

Senior Daniel Lim has received the 2017 Library Friends' Senior Thesis Prize for his work on sculpting nanofilms with laser illumination. Lim's thesis, titled "Revolution in large-area curved surface lithography: Nanofilm sculpting by thermocapillary modulation," is based on experimental research he conducted over two years in the laboratory of Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering Sandra M. Troian. "Our group has been working on thermocapillary sculpting of nanofilms for several years now,” says Troian. "Daniel advanced this concept by demonstrating an inverse projection method, which imbues the sculpting process with far greater versatility. Daniel is an exceptional student—a rare combination of superb talent, tremendous drive, utmost professionalism, and entrepreneurial chops. " [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights MCE Sandra Troian Daniel Lim

"Hot" Electrons Move Faster Than Expected

06-15-17

For the first time, Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have been able to directly observe the ultrafast motion of electrons immediately after they are excited with a laser—and found that these electrons diffuse into their surroundings much faster and farther than previously expected. "Our work shows the existence of a fast transient that lasts for a few hundred picoseconds, during which electrons move much faster than their room-temperature speed, implying that they can cover longer distances in a given time when manipulated with lasers," says Professor Bernardi. "This non-equilibrium behavior could be employed in novel electronic, optoelectronic, and renewable energy devices, as well as to uncover new fundamental physics." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Marco Bernardi

A Quantitative Study of Living Matter

06-14-17

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, has reinvents the Caltech freshman biology course. "I believe the most fascinating subject of our time is the quantitative study of living matter, trying to understand the living part of the world with the same precision as we have understood the inorganic world," he says. "Many students think of biology as a subject that is all about a variety of facts. I reject this viewpoint and in teaching this class I aimed to find an alternative to the 'death by powerpoint' approach." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS Rob Phillips

Aadith Moorthy Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-30-17

Materials science and computer science student Aadith Moorthy mentored by Professor Brent Fultz is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is working on improving graphene’s ability to store hydrogen, for use in fuel cell cars of the future. Moorthy is also the founder of ConserWater Technologies (conserwater.com), an Artificial Intelligence company that helps farmers reduce water use by up to 30%. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: APhMS honors Henry Ford II Scholar Award Brent Fultz Aadith Moorthy

Sarang Mittal Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-15-17

Applied Physics student Sarang Mittal, advised by Professor Oskar Painter, is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is currently working with Professor Maria Spiropulu’s team to explore the applications of deep learning and artificial intelligence in high energy particle physics. Using data from the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, he is trying to improve the data analysis pipeline at the Large Hadron Collider. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: APhMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Oskar Painter Sarang Mittal Maria Spiropulu

Riding The Crest

05-15-17

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, is one of the hard-core scientists/athletes recently featured in the Caltech Magazine. In the article he is shown seeking surfing solitude in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. He describes, “I try to go places where there’s no one else. In Alaska I found a place never surfed by anybody.” He has also sought surf nirvana in Sumatra, the Maldives, Biarritz, and—closer at hand—off Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara County. On the connection between sports and science, Phillips says, “One of the things I notice about the people I admire the most in science is that they’re still in touch with a childlike enthusiasm, an intensity, a curiosity.” [Read the article]

Tags: APhMS Rob Phillips

Observations Reshape Basic Plasma Wave Physics

04-06-17

Paul M. Bellan, Professor of Applied Physics , and colleagues have discovered a new way to determine the wavelength of energy flowing through plasma in space—a method that was recently applied during a NASA mission that yielded the first solid evidence of how energy sloshes back and forth in a magnetic wave that moves through the plasma surrounding the earth. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Paul Bellan

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future

03-06-17

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have—in just two years—nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels. "The key advance made by the team was to combine the best capabilities enabled by theory and supercomputers with novel high throughput experiments to generate scientific knowledge at an unprecedented rate," says John Gregoire, JCAP thrust coordinator for Photoelectrocatalysis and leader of the High Throughput Experimentation group. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights JCAP John Gregoire