Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events


Professor Faraon Receives NSF CAREER Award


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has been awarded the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his 5-year project, “Quantum Light-Matter Interfaces Based on Rare-Earth Ions and Nanophotonics”. The CAREER program is NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Tags: APhMS honors MedE NSF CAREER NSF Andrei Faraon

Professor Bhattacharya Receives the Warner T. Koiter Medal


Kaushik Bhattacharya, Howell N. Tyson, Sr., Professor of Mechanics and Professor of Materials Science as well as Executive Officer for Mechanical and Civil Engineering, has been selected to receive the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Warner T. Koiter Medal. He is receiving the medal, “for the development of novel, rigorous, and predictive methods for the multiscale behavior of modern engineering materials at scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the polycrystal, with special focus on multi-functional materials”. [Caltech story]

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Tags: APhMS honors MCE Kaushik Bhattacharya

Professor Faraon Wins AFOSR Young Investigator Award


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has won a 2015 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award. The objectives of this program are: to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering. Professor Faraon’s award will support his research in the area of on-chip quantum memories at telecom wavelengths and based on nano-photonic resonators. [AFOSR Press Release]

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Professor Scherer Elected to National Academy of Inventors


Axel Scherer, Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, and Physics, has been named fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He has most recently developed ways to integrate optics, electronics, and fluidics into sensor systems. Much of his work is currently focused on systems for medical diagnosis and health monitoring through molecular pathology and wireless implants.  Election as an NAI fellow is an honor bestowed upon academic innovators and inventors who have "demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions and innovations that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE honors MedE Axel Scherer

Professor Greer Receives Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and graduate student Lucas R. Meza’s paper entitled “Mechanical characterization of hollow ceramic nanolattices” is the winner of the 2014 Journal of Materials Science Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize. The prize recognizes a truly exceptional original research paper published in the journal in a particular calendar year. The winning paper is selected from the twelve finalists by a panel of distinguished materials scientists

Tags: APhMS honors MedE MCE Julia Greer Lucas Meza

Postdoctoral Scholar Receives Dissertation Award From American Physical Society


Moureen C. Kemei, Resnick Sustainability Institute Prize Postdoctoral Scholar in Applied Physics & Materials Science, has recieved the American Physical Society's Richard L. Green Dissertation Award in Experimental Condensed Matter or Condensed Matter Physics. The award recognizes her outstanding thesis on "Magnetostructural and Magnetodielectric Coupling in Spinel Oxides" citing her achievement in employing advanced characterization tools to gain new insights into the structure and electronic properties of magnetic materials and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathode materials. The exploration of SOFC cathode materials is the focus of Moureen’s research at the Resnick Sustianability Institute, which she works on in the lab of Professor Sossina Haile. [Dr. Kemei’s Dissertation]

Tags: APhMS honors energy Sossina Haile Moureen Kemei

New Technique Could Harvest More of the Sun's Energy


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science as well as Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleagues have created a new technique to harness the lost energy from solar panels. “Silicon absorbs only a certain fraction of the spectrum, and it's transparent to the rest. If I put a photovoltaic module on my roof, the silicon absorbs that portion of the spectrum, and some of that light gets converted into power. But the rest of it ends up just heating up my roof," explains Professor Atwater. Now they have found a way to absorb and make use of these infrared waves with a structure composed not of silicon, but entirely of metal. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Harry Atwater

Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics


Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have identified a source of electronic noise that could affect the functioning of instruments operating at very low temperatures, such as devices used in radio telescopes and advanced physics experiments. The team's findings also suggest that it may be possible to develop engineering strategies to make phonon heat transfer more efficient at low temperatures. For example, one possibility might be to change the design of transistors so that phonon generation takes place over a broader volume. "If you can make the phonon generation more spread out, then in principle you could reduce the temperature rise that occurs," Professor Minnich says. "We don't know what the precise strategy will be yet, but now we know the direction we should be going. That's an improvement." [Caltech release]

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Making Hotter Engines and Lasting Artwork


Katherine Faber, Simon Ramo Professor of Materials Science, studies the reasons why brittle ceramics fracture—and how these materials can be made stronger and tougher in the future. Her research interests have also been applied to sustainability and the arts. [Interview with Professor Faber] [ENGenious article]

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Inside the Caltech Laboratories of Professors Atwater and Arnold


The creators of the Austrian TV documentary TM Wissen (TM Knowledge) go inside the laboratories of Professors Harry A. Atwater, Jr. and Frances H. Arnold to learn more about their research at Caltech.

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Harry Atwater