News & Events


Scientists Discover Unexpected Side Effect to Cleaning Up Urban Air


For decades, efforts to reduce air pollution have led to cleaner air in U.S cities like Los Angeles, with subsequent improvements in public health. Those efforts have targeted both nitric oxides and hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are emitted from many sources including gasoline-powered cars, trucks, solvents, cleaners used both at home and in industrial settings, and even trees.  Professor Paul O. Wennberg and colleagues have found that there is another chemical pathway for forming organic hydroperoxides—one that occurs at nitric oxide levels substantially higher than can be found in the atmosphere over unpopulated regions. "This is chemistry that does not exist in any of the models of how nitric oxide and hydrocarbons interact," says Professor Wennberg. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Paul Wennberg

Two Holograms in One Surface


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, graduate student Seyedeh Mahsa Kamali, and colleagues have figured out a way to encode more than one holographic image in a single surface without any loss of resolution. The team developed silicon oxide and aluminum surfaces studded with tens of millions of tiny silicon posts, each just hundreds of nanometers tall. Each nanopost reflects light differently due to variations in its shape and size, and based on the angle of incoming light. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Andrei Faraon APh Seyedeh Mahsa Kamali

AWS and Caltech Partner to Accelerate AI and Machine Learning


From autonomous robotics to state of-the-art computer vision, Caltech and Amazon have a lot in common, including the belief that pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will not only disrupt industries, but it will fundamentally change the nature of scientific research. As part of this two-year renewable research collaboration, Amazon will provide both financial support, in the form of funding for graduate fellowships, and computing resources, in the form of AWS Cloud credits, to accelerate the work of faculty and students at Caltech in these areas. [AWS AI Blog]

Tags: CMS Adam Wierman Pietro Perona Joel Tropp Yisong Yue Aaron Ames Animashree Anandkumar

Joel (J.N.) Franklin Passes Away


Joel (J.N.) Franklin, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on November 18, 2017 at the age of 87. Professor Franklin joined Caltech in 1957 and worked closely with Gilbert McCann, professor of applied science, who was one of the early champions of computing at Caltech (and inventor of an analog computer in 1946). Professor Dan Meiron recalls, "Joel excelled as a scholar and researcher … if any of us in applied math—and the Institute in general—had any questions about matrix theory, linear programming, etc. we could consult with Joel and he always pointed us to the relevant results often connected to work he had done in the past." [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT EAS history CMS Dan Meiron Joel (J.N.) Franklin

Professor Hoffmann Elected to Chinese Academy of Engineering


Michael R. Hoffmann, Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science, has been elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). Professor Hoffman was one of 18 foreign experts, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who were inducted into the CAE which is the foremost engineering academy in China. [CAE announcement]

Tags: honors ESE Michael Hoffmann

Engineers Model the California Reservoir Network


Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran and graduate student Armeen Taeb have developed an empirical statewide model of the California reservoir network. This work offers reservoir managers insight on how to plan and respond to drought conditions. "The bread and butter of hydrology is using physical laws to describe water phenomena. But the behavior of these reservoirs is not solely determined by physical laws of the water cycle, but also by demands and what these reservoirs are being used for," Taeb explains. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Venkat Chandrasekaran Armeen Taeb

The Microscopic Origin of Efficiency Droop in LEDs


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and his colleagues’ semiconductor research has shown that the coupling between electrons and thermal vibrations may be sapping energy from Light-emitting diodes—or LEDs. "Our work shows for the first time that the ever-present interaction between electrons with lattice vibrations can, by itself, explain why excited electrons can leak out of the active layer and account for inefficiencies in GaN LEDs," Professor Bernardi says. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Marco Bernardi

Professor Rosakis Named AAAS Fellow


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This year's 396 AAAS fellows have been recognized for their "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications," according to the AAAS. Professor Rosakis was specifically recognized for his “distinguished contributions in the field of aeronautics and mechanical engineering, particularly for fracture mechanics of materials ranging from thin films to earthquakes.” [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis AAAS

Best Paper At IEEE Undergraduate Conference


Undergraduate students Peter Kundzicz, Suraj Nair, and Anshul Ramachandran, have won the the Best Paper Presentation Award at the 2017 IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference. Their paper won out of 60 invited papers from across the United States. The paper entitled "Annotated Reconstruction of 3D Spaces via Drones" was inspired by work they did in a Caltech computational vision course (EE/CNS/CS 148) and a robotics course (ME/CS133). [Read the paper]

Tags: honors CMS Peter Kundzicz Suraj Nair Anshul Ramachandran

Engineers Create Stable Plasma Ring in Open Air


For the first time, Professor Morteza Gharib and colleagues have created a stable ring of plasma in open air using just a stream of water and a crystal plate. The team fired the water jet at surfaces of different textures and found that the smoother the surface, the clearer the structure of the plasma ring. The ring is stable, and as long as the water continues to flow, the ring maintains its shape and size. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib