Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events


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

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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Developing Self-replicating Nanoscale Origami


William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, and colleagues including Postdoctoral Scholar Si-ping Han have been awarded a $2 million grant as part of the National Science Foundation’s Origami Design for Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation program. The funds will be used to develop biomimetic materials which contain assembled complexes of molecules that self-replicate, evolve and adopt intricate three dimensional structures at the nanometer scale by combining DNA guided self-assembly with origami folding.

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Tags: APhMS research highlights health William Goddard Paul Rothemund Si-ping Han

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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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

Senior Spotlight


Electrical Engineering Senior Raymond Jimenez was first introduced to Caltech as a high school student when he worked in the laboratory of Paul Bellan. As a Caltech undergraduate his favorite class was APh/EE 9, Solid-State Electronics for Integrated Circuits—a course then taught by Oskar Painter. He also worked on a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project with Axel Scherer, who describes Jimenez as "one of the most capable undergraduates whom I have had the pleasure of working with over my past 20 years at Caltech," adding that he has "extraordinary" abilities. "Raymond brought tremendous enthusiasm, talent, and insight to our neural probe project," Scherer says. "It was fun working with him on our research projects, and I think of him more as a scientific collaborator than as a student." Raymond and his peers will be honored at Caltech's 119th Commencement on June 14 at 10 a.m. [Caltech Spotlight]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Oskar Painter Paul Bellan Axel Scherer Raymond Jimenez

2013 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized four Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. They are Y. C. L. Susan Wu (PhD '63 Aeronautics), Sébastien M. Candel (MS '69 and PhD '72 in Mechanical Engineering), Uma R. Chowdhry (MS '70 Engineering Science), and James R. Fruchterman (BS '80 Engineering and Applied Science, MS '80 Applied Physics). [Caltech Release]

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EAS Division Welcomes New Deputy Chair


Peter Schröder, Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, is the new Deputy Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. "I look forward to working with Peter over the next several years as we continue with our quest to remain a unique collaborative community of isolated singularities that sets a compelling model as a research and teaching institution," says Chair Ares Rosakis.

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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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Diving Into the Unknown: An Interview with Andrei Faraon


Assistant Professor and alumnus Andrei Faraon builds devices that are based on the fundamentals of light–matter interaction. He is trying to manipulate single quantum systems in solids—systems like single atoms or single quantum dots—using light. Light is great for this purpose because it allows him to address these systems without destroying their fragile quantum states, and because it can easily interconnect quantum systems over large distances. [Caltech Interview]

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