Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events


Professor Bernardi Receives NSF CAREER Award


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has been awarded the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his 5-year project, “First-Principles Electron and Spin Dynamics in Materials with Spin-Orbit Coupling”. The CAREER program is NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

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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]

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Professor Yariv Elected As Honorary Member of The Optical Society


Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, has been elected as a 2017 Honorary Member of The Optical Society. He was elected for pioneering scientific and engineering contributions to photonics and quantum electronics that have profoundly impacted lightwave communications and the field of optics as a whole. Professor Yariv joins a very select and highly distinguished group of Honorary Members which include George E. Hale in 1916 and R.A. Millikan in 1950 from Caltech. [List of Honorary Members]

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Professor Fultz Elected APS Fellow


Brent Fultz, Barbara and Stanley R. Rawn, Jr., Professor of Materials Science and Applied Physics, has been elected as a 2017 Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) “For seminal experiments demonstrating the importance of vibrational entropy to the phase stability of materials and transformational leadership in the development of neutron scattering techniques.” [APS Fellow Archive]

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Professor Bernardi Wins AFOSR Young Investigator Award


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has won a 2017 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award. The objectives of this program are: to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering. Professor Bernardi received the award for his proposal entitled, “Ab Initio Electron-Defect and Electron-Phonon Scattering for Understanding and Designing High-Mobility Semiconductors and Oxides.” [AFOSR Press Release]

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Professor Nadj-Perge Named 2017 KNI-Wheatley Scholar


Stevan Nadj-Perge, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, has been named the 2017 KNI-Wheatley Scholar in Nanoscience for his proposal to develop a novel nanofabrication technique to integrate atomic size objects, such as atomic chains, into superconducting interferometer devices. [Nurturing Nanoscience]

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Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award


Austin Minnich, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, is a recipient of the Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The award recognizes an engineer who is under 36 years of age and is committed to pursuing research in heat transfer, and has demonstrated the potential to make significant contributions to the field.

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Professor Minnich Receives IPPA Junior Prize


Austin Minnich, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, is a recipient of the International Photothermal and Photoacoustics Association (IPPA) Junior Prize. He received the prize for outstanding contributions to the understanding of quasiballistic thermal transport, including the development of photothermal methods to directly probe heat conduction at length scales comparable to phonon mean free paths; for demonstrating how microscopic transport properties of thermal phonons in solids may be obtained using photothermal experimental methods along with ab-initio calculations; and for advances in the mathematical treatment of quasiballistic transport using the Boltzmann equation.

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Reflective Nanostructures


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have discovered how to use computer-chip manufacturing technologies to create the kind of reflective materials that make safety vests, running shoes, and road signs appear shiny in the dark. The new technology uses surfaces covered by a metamaterial consisting of millions of silicon pillars, each only a few hundred nanometers tall. By adjusting the size of the pillars and the spacing between them, Faraon can manipulate how the surface reflects, refracts, or transmits light. [Caltech story]

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Grad Student Makes Ultra-Sensitive Measurement of Deformation


Xiaoyue Ni, a materials science graduate student working with Professor Julia Greer, has shown that metals undergo permanent deformation even prior to yielding—the threshold at which a material under strain becomes permanently deformed. "What Xiaoyue's data are showing is that from the first moment you start deforming it, the dislocations start being active," Greer says. Now that we know how to do this, we can probe a variety of different classes of materials. [Caltech story]

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