Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events


Axel van de Walle Developes Formalism to Represent Structure-property Relationships in Crystals


Axel van de Walle, Assistant Professor of Materials Science, has developed a general formalism to represent structure-property relationships in crystals. It enables the prediction, from a database of quantum mechanical calculations, of anisotropic material properties such as elasticity, piezoelectricity, dielectric constants, etc. As an application, he developed predictive models of anisotropic properties relevant to the design and optimization of III–V semiconductor epitaxial optoelectronic devices. This work was recently highlighted as the cover feature of Nature Materials. [Nature Article] [Commentary]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Axel van de Walle

Roukes and Rothemund Display Work at MoMA


"If you make structures that are impeccably designed, they also often tend to work really well," says Michael Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering. He along with senior research associate in computation and neural systems and computer science Paul Rothemund are scientists who can now add artist to their resumes. Rothemund's DNA origami and a colorized electron micrograph of Roukes's nanoscience work were displayed in Design and the Elastic Mind at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Roukes's micrograph was even selected for the museum's permanent collection. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights health Michael Roukes Paul Rothemund

A New Take on Microbrewing


David Boyd, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, graduate student James Adleman, Demitri Psaltis, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and David Goodwin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, have crafted the world's tiniest still to concentrate scant amounts of micromolecules for easier detection. This device may help to overcome difficulties in tracking extremely low-abundance molecular biomarkers, which can indicate disease. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE David Boyd

Sossina Haile Profiled in Newsweek


Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Sossina Haile, creator of the first solid-acid fuel cell, is profiled in Newsweek. Soild-acid fuel cells operation at much lower temperatures than conventional fuel cells. Early this year, the start-up company Superprotonic—founded by two of her former grad students—will ship the first commercial prototypes to energy-systems makers. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Sossina Haile

Harry Atwater discusses Plasmonics with the AT&T Tech Channel


The AT&T Tech Channel discusses Plasmonics with Harry Atwater, Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science. New research in Plasmonics promises breakthroughs with implications ranging from the creation of faster than light computing, possible new weapons against cancer, and maybe even achieving invisibility. [Video]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights health Harry Atwater