Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events

Highlights

Seeing Quantum Motion

08-31-15

Keith Schwab, Professor of Applied Physics, has found a way to observe and control the quantum motion of an object that is large enough to see. Schwab's group has learned how to cool the motion of small micrometer-scale objects to produce the quantum ground state. This quantum motion is theoretically an intrinsic part of the motion of all objects. Schwab and his colleagues designed a device that would allow them to observe this quantum motion and then manipulate it. The ability to control quantum noise could one day be used to improve the precision of very sensitive measurements, such as those designed to search for signs of gravitational waves. [Caltech Story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Keith Schwab

Professor Fultz to Receive William Hume-Rothery Award

07-06-15

Brent Fultz, Barbara and Stanley R. Rawn, Jr., Professor of Materials Science and Applied Physics, has been named by the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) as the recipient of the 2016 William Hume-Rothery Award. He is receiving the award for “his groundbreaking contributions to the thermodynamics of materials.” This pinnacle award recognizes a scientific leader for exceptional scholarly contributions to the science of alloys. Professor Fultz will also be an honored presenter at the William Hume-Rothery Memorial Symposium held in conjunction with the TMS Annual Meeting.

Tags: APhMS honors Brent Fultz

Professors Rosakis and Daraio Honored by Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM)

06-22-15

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, is the 2015 recipient of the Sia Nemat-Nasser Medal “for innovative singular theoretical and experimental contributions in dynamic fracture and optical techniques, and their application to rupture faults.” The Sia Nemat-Nasser Medal is awarded by the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) and recognizes an individual for distinguished, innovative, and outstanding work that has realized the impact of experimental mechanics on other scientific and engineering fields through an integrated multidisciplinary research. Professor Rosakis received the award at the 2015 SEM annual conference. At the same event Professor Chiara Daraio and colleagues received the 2015 M. Hetényi Award for best research paper published in Experimental Mechanics. Furthermore, EAS alumnus Hugh Bruck became a 2015 fellow and EAS alumnus John Lambros received the M.M. Frocht Award.

Tags: APhMS honors Chiara Daraio GALCIT Ares Rosakis Hugh Bruck John Lambros

121st Commencement Ceremony

06-12-15

Caltech’s 121st commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 12, 2015. The commencement speaker was cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell, an expert on the intersection of culture and technology. She reminded the graduates that it is the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law which she referred to as a bold statement of engineering and a promise about the state of the future. She asked the graduates to not only bring their technical skills to the table, but also their humanity and obligation to make the work a better place. [View Dr. Bell’s commencement address]

Tags: Commencement Genevieve Bell

New Thin, Flat Lenses Focus Light as Sharply as Curved Lenses

05-08-15

Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have created flat microlenses with performance on a par with conventional, curved lenses. Typically, lenses rely on a curved shape to bend and focus light. But in the tight spaces inside consumer electronics and fiber-optic systems, these rounded lenses can take up a lot of room. The Caltech team’s new flat lenses focus as much as 82 percent of infrared light passing through them. By comparison, previous studies have found that metallic flat lenses have efficiencies of only around a few percent. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE Andrei Faraon

Professor Minnich Receives Young Investigator Award

05-01-15

Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, has won a 2015 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award. The objectives of the Young Investigator Program are to attract to naval research outstanding new faculty members, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers. Professor Minnich’s award is for his proposal entitled, “Investigation of the Atomistic Mechanisms Governing Heat Conduction in Polymers.” [List of Recipients]

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Austin Minnich

Space Solar Power Initiative

04-28-15

Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights GALCIT Harry Atwater Ares Rosakis Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

Professors Elowitz and Gharib Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

04-22-15

EAS Professors Michael Elowitz, and Morteza Gharib, have been elected to the 2015 American Academy of Arts and Sciences class of fellows. This year’s class of fellows also includes Caltech Board of Trustee members Maria D. Hummer-Tuttle, and James F. Rothenberg. They have joined an assembly that was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholars to provide practical solutions to pressing issues. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib AMACAD Michael Elowitz Maria Hummer-Tuttle James Rothenberg

Professor Faber Receives the John Jeppson Award

04-21-15

Katherine Faber, Simon Ramo Professor of Materials Science, has received one of the most prestigious awards given by the American Ceramic Society which is the John Jeppson Award. She is being honored “for her important engineering contribution to the understanding of mechanical behavior, especially toughening of ceramics.” More specifically for her study of the fracture of brittle materials and the mechanisms by which such materials can be toughened and strengthened through composite strategies and residual stresses.

The John Jeppson Award recognizes distinguished scientific, technical, or engineering achievements in ceramics. Past recipients include Larry L. Hench, Arthur H. Heuer, Anthony G. Evans, and the only other female member of the distinguished group Della M. Roy. [List of past recipients]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Katherine Faber

Undergraduate Receives Fulbright to Study Experimental Biophysics in Germany

03-26-15

Jonathan H. Liu, a senior undergraduate student working with Professor Sandra M. Troian, has received a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research in experimental biophysics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, in Germany. Specifically he will be studying the dynamics of DNA inside hydrodynamic systems subject to convective and thermophoretic forces.

Tags: APhMS honors Sandra Troian Jonathan Liu