Course Descriptions

The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.

Medical Engineering Courses

  • MedE 99. Undergraduate Research in Medical Engineering. Variable units as arranged with the advising faculty member; first, second, third terms. Undergraduate research with a written report at the end of each term; supervised by a Caltech faculty member, or co-advised by a Caltech faculty member and an external researcher. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Staff.
  • MedE 100 abc. Medical Engineering Seminar. 1 unit; first, second, third terms. All PhD degree candidates in Medical Engineering are required to attend all MedE seminars. If there is no MedE seminar during a week, then the students should go to any other graduate-level seminar that week. Students should broaden their knowledge of the engineering principles and sciences of medical engineering. Students are expected to learn the forefronts of the research and development of medical materials, technologies, devices and systems from the seminars. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Choo.
  • MedE 101. Introduction to Clinical Physiology and Pathophysiology for Engineers. 9 units (3-0-6); First term. Prerequisites: No Prerequisites, Bi 1 or equivalent recommended. The goal of this course is to introduce engineering scientists to medical physiological systems: with a special emphasis on the clinical relevance. The design of the course is to present two related lectures each week: An overview of the physiology of a system followed by examples of current clinical medical challenges and research highlighting diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. The final three weeks of the course will be a mini-work shop where the class explores challenging problems in medical physiology. The course ultimately seeks to promote a bridge between relevant clinical problems and engineering scientists who desire to solve them. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Petrasek.
  • E/ME/MedE 105 ab. Design for Freedom from Disability. 9 units (3-0-6); second, third terms. This Product Design class focuses on people with Disabilities and is done in collaboration with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Students visit the Center to define products based upon actual stated and observed needs. Designs and testing are done in collaboration with Rancho associates. Speakers include people with assistive needs, therapists and researchers. Classes teach normative design methodologies as adapted for this special area. Instructors: Pickar.
  • ChE/BE/MedE 112. Design, Invention, and Fundamentals of Microfluidic Systems. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course combines three parts. First, it will cover fundamental aspects of kinetics, mass-transport, and fluid physics that are relevant to microfluidic systems. Second, it will provide an understanding of how new technologies are invented and reduced to practice. Finally, students in the course will work together to design microfluidic systems that address challenges in Global Health, with an emphasis on students' inventive contributions and creativity. Students will be encouraged and helped, but not required, to develop their inventions further by working with OTT and entrepreneurial resources on campus. Participants in this course benefit from enrollment of students with diverse backgrounds and interests. For chemical engineers, suggested but not required courses are ChE 101 (Chemical Reaction Engineering) and ChE 103abc (Transport Phenomena). Students are encouraged to contact the instructor to discuss enrollment. Instructor: Ismagilov.
  • EE/MedE 114ab. Analog Circuits Design. Units by arrangement; first, second terms. 12 units minimum each term. Prerequisite: EE 45. Recommended: EE/CS 51 and 52, and EE 114 ab (may be taken concurrently). Open to seniors; others only with instructor's permission. An opportunity to do advanced original projects in analog or digital electronics and electronic circuits. Selection of significant projects, the engineering approach, modern electronic techniques, demonstration and review of a finished product. DSP/microprocessor development support and analog/digital CAD facilities available. Text: literature references. Instructor: Megdal.
  • EE/MedE 115. Micro-/Nano-scales Electro-optics. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: Introductory electromagnetic class and consent of the instructor. The course will cover various electro-optical phenomena and devices in the micro-/nano-scales. We will discuss basic properties of light, imaging, aberrations, eyes, detectors, lasers, micro-optical components and systems, scalar diffraction theory, interference/interferometers, holography, dielectric/plasmonic waveguides, and various Raman techniques. Topics may vary. Not offered 2016–17.
  • MS/ME/MedE 116. Mechanical Behavior of Materials. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Introduction to the mechanical behavior of solids, emphasizing the relationships between microstructure, defects, and mechanical properties. Elastic, anelastic, and plastic properties of crystalline and amorphous materials. Polymer and glass properties: viscoelasticity, flow, and strain-rate dependence. The relationships between stress, strain, strain rate, and temperature for deformable solids. Application of dislocation theory to strengthening mechanisms in crystalline solids. The phenomena of creep, fracture, and fatigue, and their controlling mechanisms. Instructor: Greer.
  • EE/MedE 124. Mixed-mode Integrated Circuits. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: EE 45 a or equivalent. Introduction to selected topics in mixed-signal circuits and systems in highly scaled CMOS technologies. Design challenges and limitations in current and future technologies will be discussed through topics such as clocking (PLLs and DLLs), clock distribution networks, sampling circuits, high-speed transceivers, timing recovery techniques, equalization, monitor circuits, power delivery, and converters (A/D and D/A). A design project is an integral part of the course. Instructor: Emami.
  • EE/BE/MedE 166. Optical Methods for Biomedical Imaging and Diagnostics. 9 units (3-1-5); third term. Prerequisite: EE 151 or equivalent. Topics include Fourier optics, scattering theories, shot noise limit, energy transitions associated with fluorescence, phosphorescence, and Raman emissions. Study of coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS), second harmonic generation and near-field excitation. Scattering, absorption, fluorescence, and other optical properties of biological tissues and the changes in these properties during cancer progression, burn injury, etc. Specific optical technologies employed for biomedical research and clinical applications: optical coherence tomography, Raman spectroscopy, photon migration, acousto-optics (and opto-acoustics) imaging, two-photon fluorescence microscopy, and second- and third-harmonic microscopy. Given in alternate years; Offered 2016–17. Instructor: Yang.
  • EE/BE/MedE 185. MEMS Technology and Devices. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Prerequisite: APh/EE 9 ab, or instructor's permission. Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) have been broadly used for biochemical, medical, RF, and lab-on-a-chip applications. This course will cover both MEMS technologies (e.g., micro- and nanofabrication) and devices. For example, MEMS technologies include anisotropic wet etching, RIE, deep RIE, micro/nano molding and advanced packaging. This course will also cover various MEMS devices used in microsensors and actuators. Examples will include pressure sensors, accelerometers, gyros, FR filters, digital mirrors, microfluidics, micro total-analysis system, biomedical implants, etc. Not offered 2016–17.
  • EE/MedE 187. VLSI and ULSI Technology. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Prerequisites: APh/EE 9 ab, EE/APh 180 or instructor's permission. This course is designed to cover the state-of-the-art micro/nanotechnologies for the fabrication of ULSI including BJT, CMOS, and BiCMOS. Technologies include lithography, diffusion, ion implantation, oxidation, plasma deposition and etching, etc. Topics also include the use of chemistry, thermal dynamics, mechanics, and physics. Not offered 2016–17.
  • ChE/BE/MedE 188. Molecular Imaging. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisites: Bi/Ch 110, ChE 101 and ACM 95 or equivalent. This course will cover the basic principles of biological and medical imaging technologies including magnetic resonance, ultrasound, nuclear imaging, fluorescence, bioluminescence and photoacoustics, and the design of chemical and biological probes to obtain molecular information about living systems using these modalities. Topics will include nuclear spin behavior, sound wave propagation, radioactive decay, photon absorption and scattering, spatial encoding, image reconstruction, statistical analysis, and molecular contrast mechanisms. The design of molecular imaging agents for biomarker detection, cell tracking, and dynamic imaging of cellular signals will be analyzed in terms of detection limits, kinetics, and biological effects. Participants in the course will develop proposals for new molecular imaging agents for applications such as functional brain imaging, cancer diagnosis, and cell therapy. Instructor: Shapiro.
  • BE/EE/MedE 189 ab. Design and Construction of Biodevices. 12 units (3-6-3) a = second and third terms; 9 units (0-9-0) b = third term. Prerequisites: ACM 95/100 ab (for BE/EE/MedE 189 a); BE/EE/MedE 189 a (for BE/EE/MedE 189 b). Part a, students will design and implement biosensing systems, including a pulse monitor, a pulse oximeter, and a real-time polymerase-chain-reaction incubator. Students will learn to program in LABVIEW. Part b is a student-initiated design project requiring instructor's permission for enrollment. Enrollment is limited to 24 students. BE/EE/MedE 189 a is an option requirement; BE/EE/MedE 189 b is not. Instructor: Yang.
  • MedE 199. Special Topics in Medical Engineering. Units to be arranged, terms to be arranged. Subject matter will change from term to term depending upon staff and student interest, but will generally center on the understanding and applying engineering for medical problems. Instructor: Staff.
  • MedE 201ab. Principles and Design of Medical Devices. 9 units (3-0-6); second and third term. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. This course provides a broad coverage on the frontiers of medical diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and devices based on multidisciplinary engineering principles. Topics include biomaterials and biomechanics; micro/nanofluidics; micro/nano biophotonics and medical imaging; medical electronics, wireless communications through the skin and tissue; electrograms and biotic/abiotic interface; biochips, microPCR and sequencer and biosensors; micro/nano implants. The course will focus on the scientific fundamentals specific to medical applications. However, both the lectures and assignments will also emphasize the design aspects of the topics as well as up-to-date literature study. Instructors: Tai, Choo.
  • MedE 205. New Frontiers in Medical Technologies. 6 units, (2-0-4); third term. Prerequisites: None but knowledge of semiconductor physics and some system engineering, basic electrical engineering highly recommended. New Frontiers of Medical Technologies is an introductory graduate level course that describes space technologies, instruments, and engineering techniques with current and potential applications in medicine. These technologies have been originally and mainly developed for space exploration. Spinoff applications to medicine have been explored and proven with various degrees of success and maturity. This class introduces these topics, the basics of the technologies, their intended original space applications, and the medical applications. Topics include but are not limited to multimodal imaging, UV/Visible/NIR imaging, imaging spectrometry, sensors, robotics, and navigation. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Nikzad.
  • MedE/BE/Ae 243. Biological Flows: Transport and Circulatory Systems. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisite: Ae/APh/CE/ME 101 abc or equivalent or ChE 103 a. Internal flows: steady and pulsatile blood flow in compliant vessels, internal flows in organisms. Fluid dynamics of the human circulatory system: heart, veins, and arteries (microcirculation). Mass and momentum transport across membranes and endothelial layers. Fluid mechanics of the respiratory system. Renal circulation and circulatory system. Biological pumps. Instructor: Staff
  • MedE 291. Research in Medical Engineering. Units to be arranged, first, second, third terms. Qualified graduate students are advised in medical engineering research, with the arrangement of MedE staff.
Medical Engineering