News & Events


Caltech Startup Aims to Make Solar Panels More Efficient


Translational technology developed in Professor Harry A. Atwater’s laboratory seeks to improve the efficiency of solar panels by tweaking the architecture of the metal-grid layout of individual cells. The new startup company—ETC Solar, LLC—which is marketing the technology, took first place at the DOE's 2018 Cleantech University Prize national collegiate business plan competition in Houston. "To have been selected as a winner is a huge point of validation for the concept, both the innovation and also the impact," says Professor Atwater, who is also a co-founder of ETC Solar along with Thomas Russell, and Rebecca Saive. "It has helped us to make contacts with potential industrial partners and private equity investors," [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Harry Atwater alumni Thomas Russell Rebecca Saive

Illuminating New Possibilities


Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, explores how nonlinear photonics, a field of optics, enables a broad range of previously less-explored opportunities for using lasers and light detectors for a variety of purposes, including molecular sensing and computing. One possible application of his work is in breath analysis. He describes, “ there's a lot of useful information about your health contained in your breath, but it is difficult to analyze because the concentrations are so low. To overcome that, you could analyze the spectra of exhaled breath using lasers, searching for the spectral "fingerprints," or signatures, that reveal the presence of those compounds.” [Interview with Professor Marandi]

Tags: EE research highlights Alireza Marandi

Professors Barr and Schröder Elected to ACM SIGGRAPH Academy


Alan Barr, Professor of Computer Science, and Peter Schröder, Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, have been elected to the first class of the ACM SIGGRAPH Academy. Professor Barr was selected for his contributions to graphics, primarily for extending computer graphics shape modeling to include physically based and teleological modeling. Professor Schröder was recognized for his pioneering work in geometry processing and multiresolution modeling. The ACM SIGGRAPH Academy is an honorary group of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques. These are principal leaders of the field, whose efforts have shaped the disciplines and/or industry, and led the research and/or innovation in computer graphics and interactive techniques. [Full list of academy members]

Tags: honors research highlights CMS Peter Schröder Alan Barr

Caltech Awarded Federal Funding for Quantum Research


EAS Professors were among a small group of Caltech scientists and engineering who have won federal grants for research in quantum computing, and quantum networks. Professor Nadj-Perge (lead PI) along with co-PIs Professors Marco Bernardi and Andrei Faraon as well as co-investigator Professor Julia Greer have received funding for the program ”Quantum States in Layered Heterostructures Controlled by Electrostatic Fields and Strain," which is administered within the U.S. Department of Energy's Basic Energy Sciences division. Professor Austin Minnich is a co-PI of the program, "Quantum simulation of materials and molecules using quantum computation," which is part of the National Science Foundation's Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)-Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (TAQS) effort. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Julia Greer Austin Minnich Andrei Faraon Marco Bernardi Stevan Nadj-Perge

President Rosenbaum Highlights Postdocs as "Unsung Heroes"


In a letter to the Caltech community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, the Caltech President emphasizes the role this key group plays at the Institute. He stated, “Caltech's mission of world-leading research and education depends crucially on our postdoctoral scholars. Although their time at Caltech may be short, they quickly become vital parts of the Institute's intellectual fabric.” [President’s Letter] [EAS Postdoc Resource Page]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MedE MCE CMS ESE Thomas Rosenbaum postdocs

The Possibilities are Mote and Remote


Professor Azita Emami’s work in high-speed data communications has led to a breakthrough that could spare millions of people the need to prick themselves with needles. As she engineers a more connected world, she also is working to make it a healthier one. Professor Emami doesn’t draw a line between the different endeavors. “Electronic systems for cell phones and computers are very, very advanced,” she explains. “So why not take the knowledge we have gained developing those technologies and find ways to apply it toward solutions in medicine?” [Breakthrough story]

Tags: EE research highlights MedE Azita Emami

Engineers Taught a Drone to Herd Birds Away From Airports


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds, Professor Chung says, adding that the team plans to explore ways to scale the project up for multiple drones dealing with multiple flocks.[Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Soon-Jo Chung

Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves


Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib Chris Roh postdocs

Wireless Pressure-Sensing Eye Implant Could Help Prevent Blindness


Azita Emami, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering and Executive Officer for Electrical Engineering, Yu-Chong Tai, Anna L. Rosen Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair; Executive Officer for Medical Engineering, and colleagues have developed a new pressure-sensing implant for the eye that could help prevent one of the leading causes of blindness. The implant could help glaucoma patients monitor their condition by wirelessly sending data about the eye to the patient or medical professionals. Patients at risk for glaucoma are required to make regular visits to an ophthalmologist to have their intraocular pressure (eye pressure) checked. The disadvantage is that patients are only able to measure pressure while visiting their doctor. With a wireless implant, a patient has access to their eye pressure data at any time, and continuous monitoring will allow intervention sooner if needed. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MedE Yu-Chong Tai Azita Emami

Clues to Solar Cell Efficiency Found at Atomic Level


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has teamed up with physics colleague Professor David Hsieh, to offers new insight into a promising solar cell material called perovskites. "Despite being a relatively new technology, perovskite solar cells are now almost as efficient as solar cell materials that have been around for decades. But we still don't know why perovskite solar cells work so well," says Professor Bernardi, [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Marco Bernardi David Hsieh