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'Comb on a Chip' Powers New Atomic Clock Design

07-22-14

Scott Diddams who was a 2012 Caltech Moore Distinguished Scholar and is a Project Lead at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and colleagues including Professor Kerry Vahala have demonstrated a new design for an atomic clock that is based on a chip-scale frequency comb, or a microcomb. The microcomb clock is the first demonstration of all-optical control of the microcomb, and its accurate conversion of optical frequencies to lower microwave frequencies. Caltech researchers made the 2-millimeter-wide silica disk that generates the frequency comb for the new clock. [NIST Press Release] [Learn More]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Kerry Vahala IST Scott Diddams

Future Electronics May Depend on Lasers, Not Quartz

07-18-14

Kerry Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics as well as the Executive Officer for APhMS, and colleagues have developed a method to stabilize microwave signals in the range of gigahertz, or billions of cycles per second—using a pair of laser beams as the reference, in lieu of a quartz crystal. "There are always tradeoffs between the highest performance, the smallest size, and the best ease of integration. But even in this first demonstration, these optical oscillators have many advantages; they are on par with, and in some cases even better than, what is available with widespread electronic technology," Vahala says. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Kerry Vahala IST

GALCIT Alumnus Allen E. Puckett Passes Away

04-15-14

Allen E. Puckett (PhD ’49 Aeronautics), pioneering aerospace engineer and chairman emeritus of Hughes Aircraft Co., passed away on March 31, 2014. He was one of the engineers who made Hughes Aircraft into the United States’ leading defense electronics firm which dominated in the markets for air defense, radar systems, tactical missiles and satellites. He began his PhD in 1941 at Caltech at the invitation of Theodore von Kármán. While at GALCIT he helped design a new supersonic wind tunnel, the first of its kind in the country. Later, he produced the calculations that led to the development of delta wing theory, which predicts the aerodynamics of supersonic aircraft and continues to be applied in the production of modern aircraft. [LA Times Obituary]

Tags: GALCIT EAS history alumni Allen Puckett

EE students Win $100K Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships

04-15-14

Professor Babak Hassibi’s students Kishore Jaganathan, and Christos Thrampoulidis as well as Professor Pietro Perona’s students Ron Appel, and Krzysztof Chalupka, have won the 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Jaganathan, and Thrampoulidis’ proposal is entitled Interference Alignment via Matrix Completion for Cellular Networks and Network Coding. Appel, and Chalupka’s proposal is entitled Energy-Efficient Multiclass Classification for Visual Applications on Mobile Devices.  Each winner will receive a $100K fellowship. This year there were 137 submissions and only 9 winners have been announced. Caltech is the only school to have two winning teams. [List of Winners]

Tags: EE honors Pietro Perona Babak Hassibi Kishore Jaganathan Christos Thrampoulidis Ron Appel Krzysztof Chalupka

From First Mile to Last Mile

03-24-14

Over his 47 year career, William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, has made seminal contributions to the theory and application of computational materials and molecular science which have led to numerous advances in diverse areas of science and engineering. In celebration of his career and 77th birthday his colleagues, students, and collaborators gathered at a celebration at Caltech entitled Bill Goddard and Computational Materials & Molecular Science: From First Mile to Last Mile. Special guests and speakers included Ares Rosakis, Carver Mead, Harry Gray, nobel laureate Rudolph Marcus and Sadasivan Shankar from Intel Corporation. [Tribute article about Professor Gaddard III]

Tags: APhMS EAS history Ares Rosakis William Goddard Carver Mead Harry Gray Rudolph Marcus

Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser

02-14-14

William Bridges, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, discovered and patented the Argon ion laser on February 14, 1964, while at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today noble gas (argon, krypton, xenon) lasers are used in a variety of applications including DNA sequencers, cell sorters, eye surgery, and laser light shows. Professor Bridges' research work with lasers involved an airborne night reconnaissance system (AN/AVD-3), space communications systems, early high power laser weapons (the carbon dioxide gas dynamic laser), and hydrogen maser clocks for the global positioning system. He also holds the patent for the Ionized Noble Gas Laser. [Oral History of Prof. Bridges]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights EAS history William Bridges

Professor Gerald Whitham Passes Away

02-12-14

Gerald B. Whitham, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at the age of 86. Professor Whitham was a pioneer in the area of nonlinear waves. His research focused on fluid dynamics and the study of wave phenomena, including sonic booms, supersonic flow and shock-wave dynamics, and ocean waves. He was also instrumental in setting up Caltech's applied mathematics program in 1962, which is now part of the Department of Computing and Mathematical Science . [Caltech Obituary] [History of Department]

Tags: energy EAS history CMS Gerald Whitham

50th Anniversary of the Launch of the First Geostationary Satellite

07-26-13

On July 26, 1963 Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Harold A. Rosen (MS 1948 EE, PhD 1951 EE) and his team at the defense electronics laboratories of Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City overcame technical and political hurdles to successfully launch the first geostationary satellite, Syncom. Dr. Harold A. Rosen has earned worldwide recognition for his pioneering work in the field of communications satellites and is known as “the father of the geostationary satellite” in that he formed and led the team that designed and built Syncom, and subsequently, as Vice President, went on to help build the world’s largest communications satellite business at Hughes Aircraft Company. [LA Times Article] [Video of Presentation at EE Centennial]

Tags: EE EAS history alumni Harold Rosen

Professor P. T. Narasimhan Passes Away

06-01-13

Distinguished Professor P. T. Narasimhan passed away on May 3rd, 2013 in Sunnyvale, California, USA at the age of 84. After a twenty five year career as a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur he retired and moved to the United States where he initiated a new phase of his research into novel medical and biological applications of magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He conducted part of this research as a Visiting Professor in the laboratory of Professor Scott Fraser at Caltech. Professor Narasimhan is survived by his wife of 57 years, Leena and their children Dr. Nalini Murdter, Dr. Vikram Narasimhan and Dr. Nandini Narayan and six grandchildren. Dr. Nalini Murdter was a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar and then Senior Research Fellow from 1985-1990. [Full Obituary]

Tags: research highlights EAS history Scott Fraser P. T. Narasimhan

Professor Coles Passes Away

05-06-13

Donald E. Coles, Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away on May 2, 2013 at the age of 89. Professor Coles made pioneering contributions towards our understanding of boundary layers, turbulent shear flows, bluff-body aerodynamics, and novel experimental methods in fluid dynamics. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society. In 2011 he was honored with the Donald Coles Lecture in Aerospace. He remained active till his passing, working on a book on Turbulent Shear Flow that is very near completion. [Caltech Obituary]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT EAS history Donald Coles