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Building A Wind Tunnel To Produce Shear Flow

08-24-11

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) student, Yuyang Fan, working with Research Scientist Daegyoum Kim and Professor Morteza Gharib, has built a wind tunnel that produces shear flow—flow in which wind speed changes with position or time.  The tunnel is six feet long, four feet wide, and four feet tall.  It is made from 100 coaster-sized computer fans that blow air at around nine meters per second. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT Morteza Gharib SURF Yuyang Fan Daegyoum Kim

Nano-mechanics of Carbon Nanotube Research Wins Art Competition

08-22-11

Siddhartha (Sid) Pathak, a W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) Postdoctoral Fellow in Material Science, has received the first prize in the NanoArt 2011 International Competition. The inspiration for Dr. Pathak's entry entitled "In-situ SEM deformation of CNT micro-pillars" is his research on nano-mechanics of carbon nanotubes.  As a KISS postdoc Dr. Pathak is working with  Professor Julia Greer on mechanical testing of carbon nanotubes at submicron length scales, with a particular emphasis towards space applications.  

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Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Julia Greer KISS Siddhartha Pathak postdocs

Intel Acquires Company Founded by CMS Alumni

08-19-11

Fulcrum Microsystems Inc., a company founded by former students of Professor Alain J. Martin, has been acquired by Intel Corporation. Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) alumni Uri V. Cummings (Ph.D. '05) and Andrew M. Lines (M.S. '95) founded Fulcrum Microsystems in late 1999 to commercialize on the nearly two decades of work that they and Professor Martin had done to come up with clockless, low-power, high-bandwidth chips for managing switched communications. [Press Release]

Tags: energy research highlights CMS alumni Alain Martin Uri Cummings Andrew Lines

Disorder Is Key to Nanotube Mystery

08-12-11

William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics; and Posdoctoral Scholar Tod Pascal believe to have solved the mystery of why water spontaneously flows into extremely small tubes of graphite or graphene, called carbon nanotubes.  Using a novel method to calculate the dynamics of water molecules they have found that entropy is the missing key.  "It's a pretty surprising result," says Professor Goddard "People normally focus on energy in this problem, not entropy." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights William Goddard Tod Pascal

Engineers Solve Longstanding Problem in Photonic Chip Technology

08-04-11

Liang Feng, a Postdoctoral Scholar in Electrical Engineering who works with Professor Axel Scherer, has designed a new type of optical waveguide - a 0.8-micron-wide silicon device. The waveguide allows light to go in one direction but changes the mode of the light when it travels in the opposite direction. This new technique to isolate light signals on a silicon chip, solves a longstanding problem in engineering photonic chips. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights Liang Feng Axel Scherer postdocs

One-way Transmission System for Sound Waves

07-26-11

Postdoctoral scholar, Georgios Theocharis, and GALCIT alumnus Nicholas Boechler; working with Professor Chiara Daraio, have created the first tunable acoustic diode- a device that allows acoustic information to travel only in one direction, at controllable frequencies. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT Georgios Theocharis Nicholas Boechler postdocs

Wind-turbine Placement Produces Tenfold Power Increase

07-13-11

Field tests of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, and colleagues' vertical-axis wind turbines have shown that the power output of wind farms can be increased by an order of magnitude—at least tenfold— by optimizing the placement of turbines on a given plot of land. "Dabiri's bioinspired engineering research is challenging the status quo in wind-energy technology," says Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "This exemplifies how Caltech engineers' innovative approaches are tackling our society's greatest problems." [Caltech Press Release] [Videos of Turbines]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri

Sander Weinreb Awarded the Karl G. Jansky Lectureship

06-16-11

Dr. Sander Weinreb, Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering, has been awarded the Karl G. Jansky Lectureship. This is an honor established to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of radio astronomy. Weinreb’s development of the first autocorrelation spectrometer and the detection of the first interstellar molecule at radio wavelengths revolutionized astronomy. He has been a leader in the technological development of cm and mm astronomy throughout his career.

Tags: EE honors energy research highlights Sander Weinreb

Geographical Load Balancing with Renewables

06-14-11

Professors Adam Wierman and Steven Low, along with CMS graduate students Zhenhua Liu and Minghong Lin have received the best paper award at the ACM GreenMetrics conference for their paper "Geographical Load Balancing with Renewables". The paper provides algorithms that can allow renewable energy to be efficiently used by geographically distributed data centers (such as those used by Google) in order to almost completely eliminate the usage of brown energy. [Read the Paper]

Tags: honors energy research highlights CMS Adam Wierman Steven Low Minghong Lin Zhenhua Liu

Yue Yang Receives 2011 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award

06-13-11

Yue Yang, a graduate student working with Dale Pullin, is the recipient of the 2011 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Dr. Yang has developed a novel Lagrangian formulation and multi-scale diagnostic tools to study fluid turbulence and vortex dynamics. The award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

Tags: honors energy GALCIT Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award Yue Yang Dale Pullin