Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events


Nanoscale Structures with Superior Mechanical Properties


Julia Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering, and Dongchan Jang, Postdoctoral Scholar, have developed a way to make some notoriously brittle materials ductile—yet stronger than ever—simply by reducing their size. Professor Greer describes, "We are entering a new era in materials science, where structural materials can be created not only by utilizing monolith structures, like ceramics and metals, but also by introducing 'architectural' features into them." [Caltech Press Release]

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Michael Elowitz Featured in Nature Celebration


The seminal research of Bioengineers Michael Elowitz, Associate Professor of Biology and Applied Physics; and Frances Arnold, Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, are featured in Nature's celebration of 10 years of 'Synthetic Systems Biology'.  [Read Nature article]

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Oskar Painter and Colleagues Propose Quantum Entanglement for Motion of Microscopic Objects


Oskar Painter, Associate Professor of Applied Physics, along with colleagues Darrick Change, Postdoctoral Scholar at Institute for Quantum Information, and H. Jeff Kimble, William L. Valentine Professor and Professor of Physics have proposed a new paradigm that should allow scientists to observe quantum behavior in small mechanical systems. Their idea offers a new means of studying the nature of quantum superposition and entanglement in progressively larger and more complex systems. [Caltech Press Release]

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Paul Dimotakis Elected to the Grade of Fellow of the AIAA


Paul E. Dimotakis, John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Applied Physics, and Chief Technologis at Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been elected to the grade of Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Professor Dimotakis is being recognized "for contributions to fluid dynamics, turbulent mixing, chemically reacting flows and combustion; digital imaging and laser diagnostics; air-breathing propulsion; and leadership in space-technologies development." [AIAA Press Release]

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Harry Atwater and Nathan Lewis Lead New Solar-research Collaboration


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and Nathan S. Lewis, George L. Argyros Professor and Professor of Chemistry, are leading a new solar-research collaboration between Caltech and Dow Chemical Company aimed at developing the use of semiconductor materials that are less expensive and more abundant than those used in many of today's solar cells. In addition, they announced the creation of the Dow Chemical Company Graduate Fellowship in Chemical Sciences and Engineering. [Caltech Press Release]

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DNA Origami Nanoscale Breadboards for Carbon Nanotube Circuits


Hareem T. Maune, a graduate student studying carbon nanotube physics, and Si-ping Han, a graduate student investigating the interactions between carbon nanotubes and DNA have developed DNA origami nanoscale breadboards for carbon nanotube circuits. "This collaborative research project is evidence of how we at Caltech select the top students in science and engineering and place them in an environment where their creativity and imagination can thrive," says Ares Rosakis, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. The work of these students was supervised by: Erik Winfree, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering; William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics; Paul W.K. Rothemund, Senior Research Associate, and Marc Bockrath, Associate Professor of Physics at University of California Riverside. [Caltech Press Release]

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Julia Greer Selected to Participate in the DARPA Young Faculty Award Program


Congratulation to Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering, for been selected to participate in the DARPA Young Faculty Award program. She is among 33 "rising stars" from 24 U.S. universities who each will receive grants of approximately $300,000. Greer's project is aimed at understanding and subsequently mimicking the superior mechanical robustness and strength of naturally occurring protective layers—such as nacre, or mother of pearl, a composite produced by some mollusks to line their inner shell—to create strong, ductile, damage-tolerant materials that maintain a relatively low density. [Caltech Press Release]

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Oskar Painter and Kerry Vahala Trap Light and Sound Vibrations Together in Nanocrystal


Oskar Painter, Associate Professor of Applied Physics, and Kerry J. Vahala Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Professor of Applied Physics; Director, The Lee Center for Advanced Networking have created a nanoscale crystal device that, for the first time, allows scientists to confine both light and sound vibrations in the same tiny space. "This novel approach... exemplifies the forward-thinking work being done by the Engineering and Applied Science division," says Ares Rosakis, Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. [Caltech Press Release]

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Sandra Troian and Mathias Dietzel Solve Decade-Long Mystery of Nanopillar Formations


Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Mathias Dietzel have uncovered the physical mechanism by which arrays of nanoscale pillars can be grown on polymer films with very high precision, in potentially limitless patterns. "This is an example of how basic understanding of the principles of physics and mechanics can lead to unexpected discoveries which may have far-reaching, practical implications," said Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. "This is the real strength of the EAS division." [Caltech Press Release] [video] [Download real player]

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Brent Fultz Receives 2010 TMS-EMPMD Distinguished Scientist Award


Brent Fultz, Professor of Materials Science and Applied Physics, is the recipient of the 2010 TMS-EMPMD Distinguished Scientist Award of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS). The award includes a TMS conference symposium in honor of Professor Fultz that will emphasize the vibrational entropy of materials, and studies of vibrational entropy by inelastic neutron scattering and modern computational methods of materials science. This work was the basis for the award.

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