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Noise-Canceling Optics


Changhuei Yang, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medical Engineering, and colleagues have created the visual analogue of noise-canceling headphones—a camera system that can obtain images of objects obscured by murky media, such as fog or clouds, by canceling out the glare. Their device selectively cancels the scattered light, leaving only the light that is reflected or bounced off the objects and has slipped back through the murk unmolested. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Changhuei Yang MedE

Your Future is Calling


Professor Morteza Gharib was one of the speakers at a recent symposium celebrating the Caltech–City of Hope Biomedical Research Initiative which provides seed grants to accelerate the development of basic scientific research and its translation into biomedical applications. Professor Gharib’s presentation was focused on measuring the ejection fraction, the fraction of blood that is ejected from the heart with each heartbeat. The group has designed a small piece of hardware that can connect to an iPhone and calculate a patient's ejection fraction—for less than $8. The device, called Vivio, gives comparable results to a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, the gold standard in the medical industry for measuring heart health. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib

Tiny Diatoms Boast Enormous Strength


Researchers in the lab of Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, have recently found that diatom shells have the highest specific strength—the strength at which a structure breaks with respect to its density—of any known biological material, including bone, antlers, and teeth. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer

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]

Tags: EE Changhuei Yang MedE health research highlight postdocs

Cancer Treatment in a Painless Patch


Mechanical engineering undergraduate student, Teo Wilkening, spent this past summer working with Professor Morteza 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]

Tags: GALCIT MedE MCE Morteza Gharib research highlight Teo Wilkening

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]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer David Chen

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]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE Andrei Faraon

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.

Tags: EE honors Changhuei Yang MedE research highlight Haowen Ruan Mooseok Jang postdocs

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]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE Andrei Faraon

Women Making History


In celebration of Women’s History Month, influential women leaders from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Caltech gathered at the JPL von Karman auditorium. Present at the event, entitled Women Making History, were the 2015 honorees for Women@JPL as well as Caltech faculty and staff. It was an opportunity for women at different stages of their career to meet and network. EAS faculty were represented by Professors Bordoni, Greer, and Hunt.  The JPL Advisory Council for Women was the lead organizer of the event.

Tags: APhMS honors MedE MCE ESE Julia Greer Simona Bordoni Melany Hunt JPL