Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

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Highlights

Tiny Lattices with Enormous Potential

02-18-15

Professor Julia Greer’s work on nanolattices is part of the 2015 MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies List. The list identifies the ten milestones from the past year that solve difficult problems or create powerful new ways of using technology. Professor Greer was selected for her work on nanomaterials and specifically “materials whose structures can be precisely tailored so they are strong yet flexible and extremely light.” [Learn more]

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Four Caltech Professors Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

02-05-15

Professors Harry AtwaterMorteza GharibGuruswami Ravichandran, and Robert Grubbs have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Atwater was elected for contributions to plasmonics. Professor Gharib was elected for contributions to fluid flow diagnostics and imagery, and engineering of bioinspired devices and phenomena. Professor Ravichandran was elected for contributions to mechanics of dynamic deformation, damage, and failure of engineering materials. Professor Grubbs was elected for developments in catalysts that have enabled commercial products. [Caltech story]

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Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MedE MCE Harry Atwater Guruswami Ravichandran Morteza Gharib National Academy of Engineering Robert Grubbs Dan Goebel Graeme Stephens Vigor Yang

Professor Bhattacharya Receives the Warner T. Koiter Medal

01-28-15

Kaushik Bhattacharya, Howell N. Tyson, Sr., Professor of Mechanics and Professor of Materials Science as well as Executive Officer for Mechanical and Civil Engineering, has been selected to receive the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Warner T. Koiter Medal. He is receiving the medal, “for the development of novel, rigorous, and predictive methods for the multiscale behavior of modern engineering materials at scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the polycrystal, with special focus on multi-functional materials”. [Caltech story]

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Professor Greer Receives Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize

12-11-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and graduate student Lucas R. Meza’s paper entitled “Mechanical characterization of hollow ceramic nanolattices” is the winner of the 2014 Journal of Materials Science Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize. The prize recognizes a truly exceptional original research paper published in the journal in a particular calendar year. The winning paper is selected from the twelve finalists by a panel of distinguished materials scientists

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Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics

11-10-14

Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have identified a source of electronic noise that could affect the functioning of instruments operating at very low temperatures, such as devices used in radio telescopes and advanced physics experiments. The team's findings also suggest that it may be possible to develop engineering strategies to make phonon heat transfer more efficient at low temperatures. For example, one possibility might be to change the design of transistors so that phonon generation takes place over a broader volume. "If you can make the phonon generation more spread out, then in principle you could reduce the temperature rise that occurs," Professor Minnich says. "We don't know what the precise strategy will be yet, but now we know the direction we should be going. That's an improvement." [Caltech release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Austin Minnich

Professor Greer Awarded the Kavli Early Career Lecture in Nanoscience

09-23-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been awarded the Kavli Early Career Lecture in Nanoscience. This honor recognizes significant novel contributions to materials science by a young researcher in the early stages of her career. Professor Greer’s nomination emphasized her creative, ingenious, and elegant work in nanoscience.

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Ceramics Don't Have To Be Brittle

09-11-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and her colleagues are on the path to developing materials that possess unheard-of combinations of properties. "Ceramics have always been thought to be heavy and brittle," says Professor Greer. "We're showing that in fact, they don't have to be either. This very clearly demonstrates that if you use the concept of the nanoscale to create structures and then use those nanostructures like LEGO to construct larger materials, you can obtain nearly any set of properties you want. You can create materials by design." [Caltech Release]

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Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List

09-11-14

Caltech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs have been ranked fourth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Engineering graduate programs ranked very well with second in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical, third in mechanical, third in applied math, fourth in electrical / electronic / communications, sixth in materials, and eight in environmental / environmental health. [All 2015 Caltech Rankings]

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Highly Cited

06-20-14

The Thomson Reuters compilation of the most highly cited researchers— those in the top 1%—from the period 2002–2012 include EAS professors Harry Atwater, Richard Murray, Joel Tropp, John Seinfeld, Kerry Vahala, and Paul Wennberg. Other Caltech professors were also among the top 1%—including Colin Camerer, Mark Davis, Richard Ellis, William Goddard, Robert Grubbs, Hiroo Kanamori, Jeff Kimble, John O’Doherty, and Charles Steidel. This compilation aims to identify researchers with exceptional impact on their respective fields.  [Detailed information on the methodology]

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Harry Atwater CMS ESE Paul Wennberg John Seinfeld Joel Tropp Kerry Vahala Richard Murray

Made-to-Order Materials

09-06-13

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues have created nanostructured, hollow ceramic scaffolds, and have found that the small building blocks, or unit cells, display remarkable strength and resistance to failure despite being more than 85 percent air. The general fabrication technique the researchers have developed could be used to produce lightweight, mechanically robust small-scale components such as batteries, interfaces, catalysts, and implantable biomedical devices. [Caltech Release]

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