News & Events


Popping Microbubbles Help Focus Light Inside the Body


Changhuei Yang, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medical Engineering, and his postdoctoral colleague Dr. Haowen Ruan have developed a novel technique called time-reversed ultrasound microbubble encoded (TRUME) that uses gas-filled microbubbles to focus light inside tissue. "Ultrasound and X-ray techniques can only detect cancer after it forms a mass," Yang says. "But with optical focusing, you could catch cancerous cells while they are undergoing biochemical changes but before they undergo morphological changes." [Caltech story]

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Cancer Treatment in a Painless Patch


Mechanical engineering undergraduate student, Teo Wilkening, spent this past summer working with Professor Gharib to test the preliminary design for an alternative—and possibly much less painful—method of chemotherapy drug delivery through a patch. To avoid the pain caused by the large needle traditionally used for such an intravenous injection, the team envisioned a patch containing hundreds of micrometer-scale needles, too small in diameter to be sensed by the nerves in the skin. [Caltech story]

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Professor Gharib Awarded the G.I. Taylor Medal


The Society of Engineering Science (SES) has selected Professor Morteza Gharib to receive the G.I. Taylor Medal. The award is made in recognition of Professor Gharib's sustained and outstanding research contributions to the area of fluid mechanics. Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor (G.I. Taylor) was a British physicist and mathematician, and a major figure in fluid dynamics and wave theory.  Past recipients of the medal include Sir James Lighthill, Sydney Goldstein, A.Acrivos, and George K. Batchelor. [List of past recipients]

In October 2016 a symposium will be organized to honor Professor Morteza Gharib. It will highlight innovative fluid mechanics research in areas where he has made significant contributions. Invited speakers will cover his contributions to quantitative imaging, cardiovascular flow, surface wettability, Micro/Nano fluidics, bioinspired design, and other areas. [Symposium program]

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Atomic Fractals in Metallic Glasses


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues including graduate student David Chen have shown that metallic glasses has an atomic-level structure although it differs from the periodic lattices that characterize crystalline metals. "Our group has solved this paradox by showing that atoms are only arranged fractally up to a certain scale," Greer says. "Larger than that scale, clusters of atoms are packed randomly and tightly, making a fully dense material, just like a regular metal. So we can have something that is both fractal and fully dense." [Caltech story]

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Professors Choo and Emami Selected As Heritage Principal Investigators


Hyuck Choo, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Azita Emami, Professor of Electrical Engineering, have been selected as two of the nine inaugural Heritage Research Institute for the Advancement of Medicine and Science at Caltech researchers. They will hold the title of Heritage Principal Investigators (HPI) and will have more opportunities to collaborate with other HPIs and with practicing physicians in the local community. [Caltech story]

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New, Ultrathin Optical Devices Shape Light in Exotic Ways


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have created silicon nanopillars devices capable of manipulating light in ways that are very difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional optical components. The devices are precisely arranged into a honeycomb pattern to create a "metasurface" that can control the paths and properties of passing light waves. Professor Faraon describes, "this new technology is very similar to the one used to print semiconductor chips onto silicon wafers, so you could conceivably manufacture millions of systems such as microscopes or cameras at a time." [Caltech story] [BBC video clip]

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Student Research in Biomedical Optics Wins First Place


Electrical Engineering postdoctoral scholar Dr. Haowen Ruan and graduate student Mooseok Jang, who work with Professor Changhuei Yang, have won first place for Best Student Poster Presentation at the Engineering Conferences International (ECI) series entitled “Advances in Optics in Biotechnology, Medicine and Surgery XIV.” Their winning poster demonstrated research in biomedical optics, specifically a novel technique that focuses light inside biological tissue by time-reversing the light encoded through popping of a microbubble. The technique has the potential to enable one to “see” through biological bodies with light.

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Professor Gharib Receives APS Fluid Dynamics Prize


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2015 Fluid Dynamics Prize of the American Physical Society (APS). This prize is the highest award given by the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics for outstanding contributions to fundamental fluid dynamics research. It recognizes Professor Gharib's seminal contributions to measurement techniques in experimental fluid mechanics, elucidation of governing physical principles in flow-structure interactions and vortex dynamics, and creative application of these concepts to a variety of important problems in biological fluid dynamics and beyond.

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121st Commencement Ceremony


Caltech’s 121st commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 12, 2015. The commencement speaker was cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell, an expert on the intersection of culture and technology. She reminded the graduates that it is the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law which she referred to as a bold statement of engineering and a promise about the state of the future. She asked the graduates to not only bring their technical skills to the table, but also their humanity and obligation to make the work a better place. [View Dr. Bell’s commencement address]

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New Thin, Flat Lenses Focus Light as Sharply as Curved Lenses


Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have created flat microlenses with performance on a par with conventional, curved lenses. Typically, lenses rely on a curved shape to bend and focus light. But in the tight spaces inside consumer electronics and fiber-optic systems, these rounded lenses can take up a lot of room. The Caltech team’s new flat lenses focus as much as 82 percent of infrared light passing through them. By comparison, previous studies have found that metallic flat lenses have efficiencies of only around a few percent. [Caltech story]

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