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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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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2017 ASCIT Teaching Award


Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology , has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2017 ASCIT Teaching Awards. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently. [Caltech story]

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2017 Library Thesis Prize


Senior Daniel Lim has received the 2017 Library Friends' Senior Thesis Prize for his work on sculpting nanofilms with laser illumination. Lim's thesis, titled "Revolution in large-area curved surface lithography: Nanofilm sculpting by thermocapillary modulation," is based on experimental research he conducted over two years in the laboratory of Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering Sandra M. Troian. "Our group has been working on thermocapillary sculpting of nanofilms for several years now,” says Troian. "Daniel advanced this concept by demonstrating an inverse projection method, which imbues the sculpting process with far greater versatility. Daniel is an exceptional student—a rare combination of superb talent, tremendous drive, utmost professionalism, and entrepreneurial chops. " [Caltech story]

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Aadith Moorthy Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Materials science and computer science student Aadith Moorthy mentored by Professor Brent Fultz is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is working on improving graphene’s ability to store hydrogen, for use in fuel cell cars of the future. Moorthy is also the founder of ConserWater Technologies (, an Artificial Intelligence company that helps farmers reduce water use by up to 30%. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

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