News & Events


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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Sarang Mittal Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Applied Physics student Sarang Mittal, advised by Professor Oskar Painter, is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is currently working with Professor Maria Spiropulu’s team to explore the applications of deep learning and artificial intelligence in high energy particle physics. Using data from the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, he is trying to improve the data analysis pipeline at the Large Hadron Collider. 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.

Tags: APhMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Oskar Painter Sarang Mittal Maria Spiropulu

Riding The Crest


Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, is one of the hard-core scientists/athletes recently featured in the Caltech Magazine. In the article he is shown seeking surfing solitude in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. He describes, “I try to go places where there’s no one else. In Alaska I found a place never surfed by anybody.” He has also sought surf nirvana in Sumatra, the Maldives, Biarritz, and—closer at hand—off Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara County. On the connection between sports and science, Phillips says, “One of the things I notice about the people I admire the most in science is that they’re still in touch with a childlike enthusiasm, an intensity, a curiosity.” [Read the article]

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Observations Reshape Basic Plasma Wave Physics


Paul M. Bellan, Professor of Applied Physics , and colleagues have discovered a new way to determine the wavelength of energy flowing through plasma in space—a method that was recently applied during a NASA mission that yielded the first solid evidence of how energy sloshes back and forth in a magnetic wave that moves through the plasma surrounding the earth. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Paul Bellan

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future


Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have—in just two years—nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels. "The key advance made by the team was to combine the best capabilities enabled by theory and supercomputers with novel high throughput experiments to generate scientific knowledge at an unprecedented rate," says John Gregoire, JCAP thrust coordinator for Photoelectrocatalysis and leader of the High Throughput Experimentation group. [Caltech story]

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Engineers Create Artificial Skin That "Feels" Temperature Changes


Chiara Daraio, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have developed an artificial skin capable of detecting temperature changes using a mechanism similar to the one used by the organ that allows pit vipers to sense their prey. [Caltech story]

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Tools and Techniques to Track and Study Methane


Methane is less prevalent in the atmosphere than fellow greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), but it presents more difficult challenges for researchers attempting to study it. Professor Wennberg, is working with colleagues from across Caltech to study methane and its effects on the globe and to pioneer tools and techniques needed to identify, track, and characterize the gas and its sources. One such colleague is Professor Vahala who has paved the way for the miniaturization of high-resolution spectrometers. His new soliton-based system is the basis for a new collaboration with Professor Frankenberg to apply dual-comb spectrometer to methane tracking and analysis. [Caltech story]

Tags: Paul Wennberg Kerry Vahala Christian Frankenberg APhMS ESE research highlights

The Future is Flat (For Lenses)


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have developed a system of flat optical lenses that can be easily mass-produced and integrated with image sensors, paving the way for cheaper and lighter cameras in everything from cell phones to medical devices. [Caltech story]

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Building Better Batteries


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues have measured for the first time the strength of lithium metal at the nano- and microscale, a discovery with important implications for suppressing dendrite formation and improving lithium-ion batteries.  [Caltech story]

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Professor Johnson Elected to National Academy of Inventors


William L. Johnson, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, has been named fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). His research includes early pioneering work with metallic materials such as bulk metallic glasses, non-crystalline metals with an amorphous atomic structure and unusual engineering properties. Election as an NAI fellow is an honor bestowed upon academic innovators and inventors who have "demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions and innovations that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society." [Caltech story] [NAI release]

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Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science