Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events


New Photonic Chip "Squeezes" More out of Light


Electronic computing and communications have come a very long way since the days of radio telegraphy and vacuum tubes, with consumer devices now containing levels of processing power and memory that would be unimaginable just a few decades ago. "The quality of the quantum states we have achieved surpasses the requirements for quantum information processing, which used to be the territory of bulky experimental setups," says Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Alireza Marandi

Minqiang Wang Receives Baxter Young Investigator Award


Minqiang Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Medical Engineering, working with Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute; Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar, has received a first-tier Baxter Young Investigator Award for his work on wearable biosensors for precision nutrition. Baxter's Young Investigator Awards seek to stimulate and reward research applicable to the development of therapies and medical products that save and sustain patients' lives. [Past Winners]

Tags: honors MedE Wei Gao postdocs Minqiang Wang

Mimicking Termites to Generate New Materials


Inspired by the way termites build their nests, researchers at Caltech have developed a framework to design new materials that mimic the fundamental rules hidden in nature's growth patterns. "We thought that by understanding how a termite contributes to the nest's fabrication, we could define simple rules for designing architected materials with unique mechanical properties," says Chiara Daraio, G. Bradford Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Chiara Daraio MCE

Caltech Charts the Course to a Green Electrical Grid


Caltech is working to transform energy systems by developing a "smart grid": a flexible, responsive, efficient, system that incorporates renewable energy sources while meeting growing power demands. "Engineering grand challenges are inspiring much of the research at Caltech, especially in the broad area of sustainability," says Harry Atwater, Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science; Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Liquid Sunlight Alliance. [Caltech story]

Tags: Harry Atwater Adam Wierman Zachary Lee Kimberly See George Lee

New Wearable Sensor Detects Even More Compounds in Human Sweat


A team of researchers from Caltech has unveiled a new wearable sensor that can detect in human sweat even minute levels of many common nutrients and biological compounds that can serve as indicators of human health. The sensor technology was developed in the lab of Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute; Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar. [Caltech story]

Tags: Wei Gao Medical Engineering Daniel Mukasa Jihong Min Changhao Xu Minqiang Wang Yiran Yang Cui Ye Nicole Heflin

A Quantitative Snapshot of the Human Impact on the Planet


Caltech researchers have developed a database containing global data on how humans have impacted the planet. The Human Impacts Database is designed to be accessible to scientists, policymakers, and everyday citizens. "In my view, the root to understanding is numeracy: once you have the numbers, it becomes clear what the problems are, which things are significant, and which things are less so," says Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics, Biology, and Physics. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights alumni Rob Phillips Griffin Chure Rachel Banks

Nano-Architected Materials Offer New Frontier in Technology


For the past two decades, Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, has been at the forefront of creating new materials whose structures are designed and controlled at the smallest level, giving them unusual and useful properties. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS MedE MCE Julia Greer alumni Carlos M. Portela

Unusual Superconductivity Observed in Twisted Trilayer Graphene


The ability to turn superconductivity off and on with a literal flip of a switch in so-called "magic-angle twisted graphene" has allowed engineers to observe an unusual phenomenon that may shed new light on superconductivity in general. "While superconductors have been around for a long time, a remarkably new feature in twisted graphene bilayers and trilayers is that superconductivity in these materials can be turned on simply through the application of a voltage on a nearby electrode," says Stevan Nadj-Perge, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS Stevan Nadj-Perge Hyunjin Kim Youngjoon Choi Cyprian Lewandowski Alex Thomson Yiran Zhang Robert Polski Kenji Watanabe Takashi Taniguchi Jason Alicea

Methods from Weather Forecasting Can Be Adapted to Assess Risk of COVID-19 Exposure


Techniques used in weather forecasting can be repurposed to provide individuals with a personalized assessment of their risk of exposure to COVID-19 or other viruses, according to new research published by Caltech scientists. The technique has the potential to be more effective and less intrusive than blanket lockdowns for combatting the spread of disease, says Tapio Schneider, Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Chiara Daraio ESE Tapio Schneider Oliver Dunbar Lucas Böttcher Dmitry Burov Alfredo Garbuno-Inigo Gregory Wagner Sen Pei Raffaele Ferrari Jeffrey Shaman Jinlong Wu

Winners of the 2022 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The student winners of the 2022 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at the end of this academic year. Ida Qin, advised by Professor Joel Burdick has received the prize in Biotechnology. Her research is in comprehensive temporal understanding and state estimation during robot-assisted surgery. Alan Gu, advised by Professor Michael R. Hoffmann has received the prize in Entrepreneurship. His research is in capturing CO2 at point emission sources to accelerate reaching a goal of carbon neutrality. Joeson Wong, advised by Professor Harry A. Atwater has received the prize in Nanotechnology. His research is focused on the optoelectronic physics and engineering of atomically thin photovoltaics. Fengyu Zhou, advised by Professor Steven Low has received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources. His research involves the global optimality and relaxation exactness of the Optimal Power Flow problem in single-phase and multi-phase networks. Stacy Larochelle, advised by Professor Jean-Philippe Avouac and Professor Nadia Lapusta has received the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection. Her research uses geodesy, data analysis and modeling to further the understanding of mechanical interactions between water and the solid Earth, from fluid-induced earthquakes to groundwater extraction.

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Harry Atwater CMS Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Nadia Lapusta Jean-Philippe Avouac Steven Low Joel Burdick Ida Qin Stacy Larochelle Fengyu Zhou