Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

News & Events


Laboratory Solar Flares Reveal Clues to Mechanism Behind Bursts of High-Energy Particles


Simulating solar flares on a scale the size of a banana, researchers at Caltech have parsed out the process by which these massive explosions blast potentially harmful energetic particles and X-rays into the cosmos. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Paul Bellan Yang Zhang

Knots Smaller Than Human Hair Make Materials Unusually Tough


In the latest advance in nano- and micro-architected materials, engineers at Caltech have developed a new material made from numerous interconnected microscale knots. The knots make the material far tougher than identically structured but unknotted materials: they absorb more energy and are able to deform more while still being able to return to their original shape undamaged. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE Julia Greer Sammy Shaker Weiting Deng Widianto Moestopo

Boosting superconductivity in graphene bilayers


Nearly a decade ago, researchers heralded the discovery of a new wonder class of ultrathin materials with special optical and electrical properties that made it a potential rival for graphene, a form of carbon discovered in 2004 whose own special properties interest both scientists and engineers. Now, Caltech engineers have shown that one of these wonder materials, tungsten diselenide, is not just a rival to graphene but also a complement to it. [Caltech Story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Stevan Nadj-Perge Cyprian Lewandowski Alex Thomson Yiran Zhang Robert Polski Jason Alicea √Čtienne Lantagne Hurtubise

New Process Allows 3-D Printing of Microscale Metallic Parts


Engineers at Caltech have developed a method for 3-D printing pure and multicomponent metals, at a resolution that is, in some cases, an order of magnitude smaller than previously possible. "We had to develop a new way of doing it, and we couldn't rely on heat to build our structures," says Max Saccone. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE MCE Julia Greer Max Saccone Rebecca Gallivan Daryl Yee Kai Narita

New Theory of Electron Spin to Aid Quantum Devices


Marco Bernardi, Professor of Applied Physics, Physics and Materials Science; Jinsoo Park, Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Applied Physics and Materials Science, and graduate student Yao Luo, have developed a new theory and numerical calculations to predict spin decoherence in materials with high accuracy. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights alumni Marco Bernardi Jinsoo Park Yao Luo Jin-Jian Zhou

Emerging Metal 3D Printing Technology from Caltech: Hydrogel Infusion


Caltech has been doing interesting work in 3D printing for a number of years now, especially Professor Julia Greer and the Greer Group. The team works in hierarchical, nano, battery and other new materials, as well as processes for 3D printing. One novel area that the team have been doing exploring over the years is related to hydrogel derived materials. [Read full story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE Julia Greer

Beaming Clean Energy From Space


Once considered science fiction, technology capable of collecting solar power in space and beaming it to Earth to provide a global supply of clean and affordable energy is moving closer to reality. Through the Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP), a team of Caltech researchers is working to deploy a constellation of modular spacecraft that collect sunlight, transform it into electricity, then wirelessly transmit that electricity wherever it is needed—including to places that currently have no access to reliable power. "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented project," 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. "It exemplifies the boldness and ambition needed to address one of the most significant challenges of our time, providing clean and affordable energy to the world." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights MedE MCE Harry Atwater Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

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

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

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