Future Electronics May Depend on Lasers, Not Quartz
Kerry Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics as well as the Executive Officer for APhMS, and colleagues have developed a method to stabilize microwave signals in the range of gigahertz, or billions of cycles per second—using a pair of laser beams as the reference, in lieu of a quartz crystal. "There are always tradeoffs between the highest performance, the smallest size, and the best ease of integration. But even in this first demonstration, these optical oscillators have many advantages; they are on par with, and in some cases even better than, what is available with widespread electronic technology," Vahala says. [Caltech Release]
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]
Professor Vahala Elected Fellow of IEEE
Kerry J. Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics, has been elected as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Elevation to IEEE Fellow is one of the most prestigious honors given by the IEEE, which is the world's largest professional association.
Spirals of Light May Lead to Better Electronics
Kerry J. Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics as well as Executive Officer for Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have created the optical equivalent of a tuning fork—a device that can help steady the electrical currents needed to power high-end electronics and stabilize the signals of high-quality lasers. They were able to stabilize the light's frequency by developing a silica glass chip resonator with a specially designed path for the photons in the shape of what is called an Archimedean spiral. [Caltech Release]