News & Events
Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and his colleagues have created highly absorbing, flexible solar cells with silicon wire arrays. "These solar cells have, for the first time, surpassed the conventional light-trapping limit for absorbing materials," says Professor Atwater. Furthermore this new type of flexible solar cell uses only a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells. [Caltech Press Release]
Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and Nathan S. Lewis, George L. Argyros Professor and Professor of Chemistry, are leading a new solar-research collaboration between Caltech and Dow Chemical Company aimed at developing the use of semiconductor materials that are less expensive and more abundant than those used in many of today's solar cells. In addition, they announced the creation of the Dow Chemical Company Graduate Fellowship in Chemical Sciences and Engineering. [Caltech Press Release]
Kerry Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Professor of Applied Physics; Director, The Lee Center for Advanced Networking along with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have created the first-ever phonon laser--a device that amplifies phonons in much the way that optical lasers amplify photons of light. [View Article]
DOE Names Harry Atwater as Director of EFRC Focusing on Light-Material Interactions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has announced that it will fund the creation of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) over the next five years, including one that will be housed at Caltech. That $15 million EFRC will be headed by Harry Atwater, the Howard Hughes Professor and professor of applied physics and materials science.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded an American Competitiveness and Innovation (ACI) Fellowship to Sossina M. Haile, Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, "for her timely and transformative research in the energy field and her dedication to inclusive mentoring, education and outreach across many levels." This recognition program honors current NSF grantees who have demonstrated a combination of transformative research accomplishments and outstanding contributions toward education, mentoring, and broadening participation of women, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities.
Caltech Faculty Associate Jeff Snyder and colleagues have invented a new material that will make cars even more efficient by converting heat lost through engine exhaust into electricity. In a paper published July 25 in the journal Science, the scientists describe the unique thermoelectric material, which has twice the efficiency other such materials currently on the market, and works most effectively in the temperature range typical of automobile engines. The same technology could also work in power generators and heat pumps. Read more at www.sciencemag.org.
Pasadena's largest-ever solar-energy facility will be installed on the Caltech campus. [Caltech Press Release]
Christopher Somerville, one of the world's leading authorities on converting plant cellulose to energy, will speak on March 18 at 8 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium. He will discuss the technical issues involved with the U.S. Secretary of Energy's call to replace 30 percent of the liquid fuels used in the U.S. with cellulosic biofuels by 2030. The event is free and open to the public.
Can we transform the industrialized world from one powered by fossil fuels to one that is powered by sunlight? Watch Sossina Haile: Fuel to Electricity via Solid Electrolyte Fuel Cells.