News & Events


A New Tool for Secret Agents—And the Rest of Us


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Postdoctoral Scholar in Electrical Engineering, Kaushik Sengupta, have developed tiny inexpensive silicon microchips that generate terahertz (THz) waves that fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum and that can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays. When incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming. "This extraordinary level of creativity, which has enabled imaging in the terahertz frequency range, is very much in line with Caltech's long tradition of innovation in the area of CMOS technology," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "Caltech engineers, like Ali Hajimiri, truly work in an interdisciplinary way to push the boundaries of what is possible." [Caltech Release]

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Point of Light


Hyuck Choo, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Postdoctoral Scholar Myung-Ki Kim have invented a light-focusing device that may lead to applications in computing, communications, and imaging. This new kind of waveguide is made of amorphous silicon dioxide and is covered in a thin layer of gold. Just under two microns long, the device is a rectangular box that tapers to a point at one end. With the new device, light can ultimately be focused in three dimensions, producing a point a few nanometers across, and using half of the light that's sent through, Choo says. (Focusing the light into a slightly bigger spot, 14 by 80 nanometers in size, boosts the efficiency to 70 percent). The key feature behind the device's focusing ability and efficiency, he says, is its unique design and shape. [Caltech Release and Video]

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3-D Dentistry


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bioinspired Engineering as well as Caltech Vice Provost, has designed a handheld device, that has three apertures which take a picture of the tooth at the same time, but from different angles. The three images are then blended together using a computer algorithm to construct a 3-D image. His imaging innovation will ease your trip to the dentist and may soon energize home entertainment systems too. "Professor Gharib is as brilliant a scientist as he is an engineer and inventor," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "I think that's what we have to do to look at humanity's big problems: we have to be ready to act as pure scientists when we observe and discover as well as act as practical engineers when we invent and apply. This continuous interplay happens at Caltech better than at other institutions." [Caltech Release]

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Student Cold Storage Project Wins $25,000 Sustainability Prize


Aeronautics graduate student, Prakhar Mehrotra, has won the $25,000 Dow Resnick Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) at Caltech. His team won the prize for an elegantly simple project called Micro Cold Storage. The idea is to manufacture a portable cold storage unit, scaled to fit in a farmer’s truck, that is powered by solar panels. The project’s implications are far reaching for rural farmers in India, to clinics in Africa, to farmer’s markets in Pasadena. [Learn More]

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First Person to Dig on the Moon


Among the souvenirs collected by astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean on their trip to the moon aboard Apollo 12 Lunar Excursion Module was the metal scoop that Ronald Scott, Caltech Professor of Civil Engineering, had used to verify that a moon landing could be made in the first place. [Caltech Release]

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Knowing When to Fold 'Em


Electrical engineer Azita Emami-Neyestanak is an expert in the 21st century technology of analog and digital circuits for computers, sensors, and other applications, so when she came to Caltech in 2007, she never imagined that she would be incorporating in her research an art form that originated centuries ago. But origami—the Japanese art of paper folding—could play a critical role in her project to design an artificial retina, which may one day help thousands of blind and visually impaired people regain their vision. [Caltech Release]

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EAS Remembers David G. Goodwin


Caltech mourns the passing of David G. Goodwin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, Emeritus, on Sunday, November 11, 2012. [Caltech Release]

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Diving Into the Unknown: An Interview with Andrei Faraon


Assistant Professor and alumnus Andrei Faraon builds devices that are based on the fundamentals of light–matter interaction. He is trying to manipulate single quantum systems in solids—systems like single atoms or single quantum dots—using light. Light is great for this purpose because it allows him to address these systems without destroying their fragile quantum states, and because it can easily interconnect quantum systems over large distances. [Caltech Interview]

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Modeling Jet Engine Noise


Tim Colonius, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and his group have been building models to understand how jet engines generate noise and the Office of Naval Research recently awarded him funding to develop a better way to control the din. “Now we are getting a much more detailed picture of the actual mechanism by which the turbulence makes the sound,” Colonius says. [E&S Article in pdf]

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Professor Greer Receives NASA Research Grant and Early Career Awards


Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, is among a select group of 10 recipients of NASA's inaugural Space Technology Research Opportunities Early Career Faculty grants. She has also received the 2013 Early Career Faculty Fellow award from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) and the Young Investigator's Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES). Congratulations Professor Greer! [Caltech Release]

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