Introduction to the use of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics in physics and engineering. Entropy, temperature, and the principal laws of thermodynamics. Canonical equations of state. Applications to cycles, engines, phase and chemical equilibria. Probability and stochastic processes. Kinetic theory of perfect gases. Statistical mechanics. Applications to gases, gas degeneration, equilibrium radiation, and simple solids. Not offered 2023-24.
This course focuses on basic concepts needed for understanding classical and quantum optical phenomena and their applications to modern optical components and systems. Classical optical phenomena including interference, dispersion, birefringence, diffraction, laser oscillation, and the applications of these phenomena in optical systems employing multiple-beam interferometry, Fourier-transform image processing, holography, electro-optic modulation, optical detection and heterodyning will be covered. Quantum optical phenomena like single photon emission will be discussed. Examples and demonstrations will be selected from optical communications, lidar, adaptive optical systems, nano-photonic devices and quantum communications. Visits to research laboratories in optics are expected at the end of the course. This class is optimal for sophomores/juniors/seniors who want to get their first serious exposure to optics but also might work for well-prepared and motivated First-Year students.
This course provides an introduction to the fundamental physics of modern device technologies in electrical engineering used for sensing, communications, computing, imaging, and displays. The course overviews topics including semiconductor physics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetics, and optics with emphasis on physical operation principles of devices. Example technologies include integrated circuits, optical and wireless communications, micromechanical systems, lasers, high-resolution displays, LED lighting, and imaging.
Selected experiments chosen to familiarize students with laboratory equipment, procedures, and characteristic phenomena in plasmas, fluid turbulence, fiber optics, X-ray diffraction, microwaves, high-temperature superconductivity, black-body radiation, holography, and computer interfacing of experiments. Not offered 2023-24.
Supervised experimental research, open only to senior-class applied physics majors. Requirements will be set by individual faculty member, but must include a written report. The selection of topic must be approved by the Applied Physics Option Representative. Not offered on a pass/fail basis. Final grade based on written thesis and oral exam.
Supervised theoretical research, open only to senior-class applied physics majors. Requirements will be set by individual faculty member, but must include a written report. The selection of topic must be approved by the Applied Physics Option Representative. Not offered on a pass/fail basis. Final grade based on written thesis and oral exam. This course cannot be used to satisfy the laboratory requirement in APh.
Special problems relating to applied physics, arranged to meet the needs of students wishing to do advanced work. Primarily for undergraduates. Students should consult with their advisers before registering. Graded pass/fail.
Fundamentals of fluid mechanics. Microscopic and macroscopic properties of liquids and gases; the continuum hypothesis; review of thermodynamics; general equations of motion; kinematics; stresses; constitutive relations; vorticity, circulation; Bernoulli's equation; potential flow; thin-airfoil theory; surface gravity waves; buoyancy-driven flows; rotating flows; viscous creeping flow; viscous boundary layers; introduction to stability and turbulence; quasi one-dimensional compressible flow; shock waves; unsteady compressible flow; and acoustics.
Lectures on experiment design and implementation. Measurement methods, transducer fundamentals, instrumentation, optical systems, signal processing, noise theory, analog and digital electronic fundamentals, with data acquisition and processing systems. Experiments (second and third terms) in solid and fluid mechanics with emphasis on current research methods.
Introduction to techniques of micro-and nanofabrication, including solid-state, optical, and microfluidic devices. Students will be trained to use fabrication and characterization equipment available in the applied physics micro- and nanofabrication lab. Topics include Schottky diodes, MOS capacitors, light-emitting diodes, microlenses, microfluidic valves and pumps, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and electron-beam writing.
A seminar course designed to acquaint advanced undergraduates and first-year graduate students with the various research areas represented in the option. Lecture each week given by a different member of the APh faculty, who will review their field of research. Graded pass/fail.
The presence of noise in experimental systems is often regarded as a nuisance since it diminishes the signal to noise ratio thereby obfuscating weak signals or patterns. From a theoretical perspective, noise is also problematic since its influence cannot be elicited from deterministic equations but requires stochastic-based modeling which incorporates various types of noise and correlation functions. In general, extraction of embedded information requires that a threshold be overcome in order to outweigh concealment by noise. However, even below threshold, it has been demonstrated in numerous systems that external forcing coupled with noise can actually boost very weak signatures beyond threshold by a phenomenon known as stochastic resonance. Although it was originally demonstrated in nonlinear systems, more recent studies have revealed this phenomenon can occur in linear systems subject, for example, to color-based noise. Techniques for optimizing stochastic resonance are now revolutionizing modeling and measurement theory in many fields ranging from nonlinear optics and electrical systems to condensed matter physics, neurophysiology, hydrodynamics, climate research and even finance. This course will be conducted in survey and seminar style and is expected to appeal to theorists and experimentalists alike. Review of the current literature will be complimented by background readings and lectures on statistical physics and stochastic processes as needed. Part b not offered 2023-24.
Introductory lecture and problem course dealing with experimental and theoretical problems in solid-state physics. Topics include crystal structure, symmetries in solids, lattice vibrations, electronic states in solids, transport phenomena, semiconductors, superconductivity, magnetism, ferroelectricity, defects, and optical phenomena in solids.
Physics of Measurement: Moonbounce and Beyond - Microwave Scattering for Communications and Metrology
This laboratory/lecture course will enable students to become proficient in micro- and nanofabrication and get trained on most of the instruments in Caltech’s Kavli Nanoscience Institute cleanroom. Students will learn the capabilities and limitations of nanofabrication equipment, followed by training on these nanofabrication instruments in the KNI cleanroom facility.
Experimental methods in transmission electron microscopy of inorganic materials including diffraction, spectroscopy, conventional imaging, high resolution imaging and sample preparation. Weekly laboratory exercises to complement material in MS 132. Not offered 2023-24.
This course focuses on hands-on experience with advanced techniques related to lasers, optics, and photonics. Students have the opportunity to build and run several experiments and analyze data. Covered topics include laser-based microscopy, spectroscopy, nonlinear optics, quantum optics, ultrafast optics, adaptive optics, and integrated photonics. Limited enrollment.
Interaction of light and matter, spontaneous and stimulated emission, laser rate equations, mode-locking, Q-switching, semiconductor lasers. Optical detectors and amplifiers; noise characterization of optoelectronic devices. Propagation of light in crystals, electro-optic effects and their use in modulation of light; introduction to nonlinear optics. Optical properties of nanostructures. Not offered 2023-24.
This class covers multiple quantum technology platforms and related theoretical techniques, and will provide students with broad knowledge in quantum science and engineering. It will be split into modules covering various topics including solid state quantum bits, topological quantum matter, trapped atoms and ions, applications of near-term quantum computers, superconducting qubits. Topics will alternate from year to year.
A broad introduction to scientific computing using the Python language. Introduction to Python and its packages Matplotlib, Numpy and SciPy. Numerical precision and sources of error. Root-finding and optimization. Numerical differentiation and integration. Introduction to numerical methods for linear systems and eigenvalue problems. Numerical methods for ordinary differential equations. Finite-difference methods for partial differential equations. Discrete Fourier transforms. Introduction to data-driven and machine learning methods. Singular value decomposition. Deep learning with PyTorch and Keras. Students will develop numerical calculations in the homework and in a final project. Not offered 2023-24.
This course overviews recent advances in photonics with emphasis on devices and systems that utilize nonlinearities. A wide range of nonlinearities in the classical and quantum regimes is covered, including but not limited to second- and third-order nonlinear susceptibilities, Kerr, Raman, optomechanical, thermal, and multi-photon nonlinearities. A wide range of photonic platforms is also considered ranging from bulk to ultrafast and integrated photonics. The course includes an overview of the concepts as well as review and discussion of recent literature and advances in the field. Not offered 2023-24.
Content will vary from year to year, but at a level suitable for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students. Topics are chosen according to the interests of students and staff. Visiting faculty may present portions of this course.
Research efforts in many areas of applied science and engineering are increasingly focused on microsystems involving active or passive fluid flow confined to 1D, 2D or 3D platforms. Intrinsically large ratios of surface to volume can incur unusual surface forces and boundary effects essential to operation of microdevices for applications such as optofluidics, bioengineering, green energy harvesting and nanofilm lithography. This course offers a concise treatment of the fundamentals of fluidic behavior in small scale systems. Examples will be drawn from pulsatile, oscillatory and capillary flows, active and passive spreading of liquid dots and films, thermocapillary and electrowetting systems, and instabilities leading to self-sustaining patterns. Students must have working knowledge of vector calculus, ODEs, basic PDEs, and complex variables. Not offered 2023-24.
An introduction to the principles of plasma physics. A multitiered theoretical infrastructure will be developed consisting of the Hamilton-Lagrangian theory of charged particle motion in combined electric and magnetic fields, the Vlasov kinetic theory of plasma as a gas of interacting charged particles, the two-fluid model of plasma as interacting electron and ion fluids, and the magnetohydrodynamic model of plasma as an electrically conducting fluid subject to combined magnetic and hydrodynamic forces. This infrastructure will be used to examine waves, transport processes, equilibrium, stability, and topological self-organization. Examples relevant to plasmas in both laboratory (fusion, industrial) and space (magneto-sphere, solar) will be discussed.
The course focuses on superconducting electrical systems for quantum computing. Contents begin with reviewing required concepts in microwave engineering, quantum optics, and superconductivity and proceed with deriving quantum mechanical description of superconducting linear circuits, Josephson qubits, and parametric amplifiers. The second part of the course provides an overview of integrated nano-mechanical, piezo-electric, and electro-optic systems and their applications in transducing quantum electrical signals from superconducting qubits.
Physical models applied to the analysis of biological structures ranging from individual proteins and DNA to entire cells. Topics include the force response of proteins and DNA, models of molecular motors, DNA packing in viruses and eukaryotes, mechanics of membranes, and membrane proteins and cell motility.
An overview of the relationships between chemical, structural, and symmetry properties of prominent material systems with optoelectronic functionalities. Content will be presented through discussions on synthesis and fabrication approaches, core functionalities, and current research frontiers, with a focus on group IV, III-V, and II-VI semiconductors, oxides, two-dimensional materials, dielectrics and mesoscopic systems. Not offered 2023-24.
Review of Patterson function and memory function for space or time correlations. Van Hove function for correlated dynamics in space and time, especially for materials with thermal energy. Dynamical structure factors for coherent scattering from solids and liquids. Measurements of energy and momentum of dispersive excitations in crystals using neutrons, x-rays, and electrons. Additional topics to be selected from the following list: incoherent inelastic scattering and the thermodynamic partition function, transport of thermal energy, fluctuation-dissipation theorem, quasielastic scattering, sideband information in coherent inelastic scattering, transition from quantum to classical scattering. Not offered 2023-24.
This course will explore the techniques and applications of nanofabrication and miniaturization of devices to the smallest scale. It will be focused on the understanding of the technology of miniaturization, its history and present trends towards building devices and structures on the nanometer scale. Technology and instrumentation for nanofabrication as well as future trends will be described. Examples of applications of nanotechnology in the electronics, communications, data storage, sensing and biotechnology will be analyzed. Students will understand the underlying physics and technology, as well as limitations of miniaturization.
Principles of semiconductor electronic structure, carrier transport properties, and optoelectronic properties relevant to semiconductor device physics. Fundamental performance aspects of basic and advanced semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices. Topics include energy band theory, carrier generation and recombination mechanisms, quasi-Fermi levels, carrier drift and diffusion transport, quantum transport.
Generation, manipulations, propagation, and applications of coherent radiation. The basic theory of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with resonant atomic transitions. Laser oscillation, important laser media, Gaussian beam modes, the electro-optic effect, nonlinear-optics theory, second harmonic generation, parametric oscillation, stimulated Brillouin and Raman scattering. Other topics include light modulation, diffraction of light by sound, integrated optics, phase conjugate optics, and quantum noise theory. Not offered 2023-24.
Offered to graduate students in applied physics for research or reading. Students should consult their advisers before registering. Graded pass/fail.
Overview of probability and statistics, and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Overview and elements of Quantum Mechanics, degenerate energy states, particles in a box, and energy-state phase space. Statistics of indistinguishable elementary particles, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics, partition functions, connections with classical thermodynamics, and the Law of Equipartition. Examples from equilibrium in fluids, solid-state physics, and others. Not offered 2023-24.
Content will vary from year to year; topics are chosen according to interests of students and staff. Visiting faculty may present portions of this course.
The course will cover first-principles computational methods to study electronic structure, lattice vibrations, optical properties, and charge and heat transport in materials. Topics include: Theory and practice of Density Functional Theory (DFT) and the total-energy pseudopotential method. DFT calculations of total energy, structure, defects, charge density, bandstructures, density of states, ferroelectricity and magnetism. Lattice vibrations using the finite-difference supercell and Density Functional Perturbation Theory (DFPT) methods. Electron-electron interactions, screening, and the GW method. GW bandstructure calculations. Optical properties, excitons, and the GW-Bethe Salpeter equation method. Ab initio Boltzmann transport equation (BTE) for electrons and phonons. Computations of heat and charge transport within the BTE framework. If time permits, selected advanced topics will be covered, including methods to treat vander Waals bonds, spin-orbit coupling, correlated materials, and quantum dynamics. Several laboratories will give students direct experience with running first-principles calculations. Not offered 2023-24.
APh 300 is elected in place of APh 200 when the student has progressed to the point where their research leads directly toward a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Approval of the student's research supervisor and department adviser or registration representative must be obtained before registering. Graded pass/fail.