News & Events


Novel Calibration Tool Will Help Astronomers


Kerry Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics; Executive Officer for Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have developed a novel calibration tool, called a laser frequency comb, which could allow astronomers to take a major step in discovering and characterizing earthlike planets around other stars. The comb produces easily resolvable lines, without any need for filtering and is built from off-the-shelf components developed by the telecommunications industry. "We have demonstrated an alternative approach that is simple, reliable, and relatively inexpensive," says Professor Vahala. [Caltech story]

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Innovation in Aerospace


At the "Innovation in Aerospace" forum held at Caltech —part of the Idea 2 Innovation series cosponsored by Innovate Pasadena and Caltech—three of the aerospace industry's biggest companies discussed some of their most exciting new ventures. Northrop Grumman's Starshade project could help find life on other planets. Boeing's new unmanned Echo Seeker submarine is capable of diving 20,000 feet below sea level. Lockheed Martin's new imaging technology could radically shrink the size of space telescopes, making it far more efficient to send them deep into space. [Video of event] [Caltech story]

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Microscopic Materials


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, is fascinated by the interactions of quasiparticles and how they give rise to the world around us. He explains, “I'm most excited about the emphasis on fundamental science here. People can be really tempted by "flashy" science or experiments on hot topics. But to compute what I'm trying to look at, we have to first build our understanding on simple experiments and materials—boring things—before we are able to tackle materials at the frontier of condensed matter research.” [Interview with Prof. Bernardi]

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Professor Rosakis Inducted Into the Academy of Athens


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been inducted into the Academy of Athens in the class of Natural Sciences for his “exceptional contributions to science, in particular in experimental science, in the mechanics of solids, and in aerospace.” He was indicated as a Corresponding Member of this selective academy - there are only 76 members in his section and class. [Video of event] [Caltech story]

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Solar Powered, Electrochemical, Wastewater Treatment System


Cody Finke, Environmental Science and Engineering graduate student, and Justin Jasper, Resnick Sustainability Institute Prize Postdoctoral Scholar, are the runner ups for the Dow Resnick Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) at Caltech. They have been working Professor Michael Hoffmann to enhance a modular, solar powered, electrochemical, on-site wastewater treatment system created by their group for toilets in the developing and developed world. With an operating cost of less than 5 US cents per day, this wastewater treatment technology meets benchmarks for affordability in the developing world. It also has the potential to protect human health and ecosystem well-being in communities most at risk to disease and resource-loss through environmental pollution. [Resnick Institute story]

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Next-Generation Distribution Infrastructure


Caltech’s smart grid team led by Professors John DoyleSteven Low, and Adam Wierman along with their collaborators have been awarded $3.9 million for an Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Network Optimized Distributed Energy System (NODES) project entitled "Real-time Optimization and Control of Next-Generation Distribution Infrastructure."  NODES is ARPA-E’s new program focused on enabling more than 50% usage of renewable power on the grid. The Caltech team will develop a comprehensive distribution network management framework that unifies real-time voltage and frequency control at the home/distributed energy resource controllers’ level with network-wide energy management at the utility/aggregator level. [Learn more]

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Professor Hajimiri Elected to National Academy of Inventors


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering; Executive Officer for Electrical Engineering; Director, Information Science and Technology, has been named fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). His research covers broad areas within high-speed and high-frequency electronics- and photonics-integrated circuits. This year, the Hajimiri group synthesized a 3-D camera—called a nanophotonic coherent imager—that provides the highest depth-measurement accuracy (similar to resolution) of any such nanophotonic 3-D imaging device. 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] [NAI release]

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Professor Atwater Elected to National Academy of Inventors


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, has been named fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). His research focuses on photovoltaics and solar energy—he helped develop an artificial leaf as part of his work with JCAP—as well as plasmonics (oscillations of electrons on the surface of materials) and optical metamaterials (materials comprised of nanostructures). 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] [NAI release]

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Professor Schröder Named ACM Fellow


Peter Schröder, Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, has been named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is being recognized, “for contributions to computer graphics and geometry processing.” ACM, is the world's leading computing society, and Professor Schröder is among 42 of its members who have been recognized for their significant contributions to the development and application of computing in areas from data management and spoken-language processing to robotics and cryptography. [ACM release]

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Popping Microbubbles Help Focus Light Inside the Body


Changhuei Yang, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medical Engineering, and his postdoctoral colleague Dr. Haowen Ruan have developed a novel technique called time-reversed ultrasound microbubble encoded (TRUME) that uses gas-filled microbubbles to focus light inside tissue. "Ultrasound and X-ray techniques can only detect cancer after it forms a mass," Yang says. "But with optical focusing, you could catch cancerous cells while they are undergoing biochemical changes but before they undergo morphological changes." [Caltech story]

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Division of Engineering and Applied Science