News & Events


Julia Greer Named 2024 SES A.C. Eringen Medal Recipient


Julia Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Society of Engineering Science’s (SES) A.C. Eringen Medal. Greer was selected for her sustained outstanding contributions in the field of three-dimensional nano- and micro-architected materials as well as the development of innovative in-situ experimental methods and instruments used to study the mechanics of small-scale materials.

The SES A.C. Eringen Medal is awarded annually in recognition of sustained outstanding achievements in engineering science, and the award recipient is invited to speak at the SES annual meeting. The 2024 SES annual meeting will be hosted by Westlake University in China. 

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Technique for 3-D Printing Metals at the Nanoscale Reveals Surprise Benefit


Late last year, Caltech researchers revealed that they had developed a new fabrication technique for printing microsized metal parts containing features about as thick as three or four sheets of paper. Now, the team has reinvented the technique to allow for printing objects a thousand times smaller: 150 nanometers, which is comparable to the size of a flu virus. In doing so, the team also discovered that the atomic arrangements within these objects are disordered, which would, at large scale, make these materials unusable because they would be considered weak and "low quality." In the case of nanosized metal objects, however, this atomic-level mess has the opposite effect: these parts can be three-to-five-times stronger than similarly sized structures with more orderly atomic arrangements.

The work was conducted in the lab of Julia R. Greer, the Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; and Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute. It is described in a paper appearing in the journal Nano Letters. [Caltech story]

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Winners of the 2023 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes are awarded annually to PhD candidates selected for the best thesis, publication, or discovery in select fields. Saransh Sharma, advised by Professor Azita Emami, has received the prize in Biotechnology or Related Fields for his research in developing ultra-low power and highly miniaturized medical electronics for in-vivo localization and tracking. Nathaniel Wei, advised by Professor John Dabiri, has received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources or Related Fields for his research that explores the ways in which unsteady flows in the atmosphere can be leveraged in wind-energy systems for enhanced performance, robustness, and operational longevity. Rebecca Gallivan, advised by Professor Julia Greer, has received the prize in Nanotechnology or Related Fields. Coupled with the development of novel materials processing, Gallivan's research focuses on uncovering fundamental insight into the relationship between length-scale and microstructural features on nanomechanical phenomena in order to lay the foundation for advanced engineering and complex design of materials in nanotechnologies.

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In a First, Caltech's Space Solar Power Demonstrator Wirelessly Transmits Power in Space


A space solar power prototype that was launched into orbit in January is operational and has demonstrated its ability to wirelessly transmit power in space and to beam detectable power to Earth for the first time. Wireless power transfer was demonstrated by MAPLE, one of three key technologies being tested by the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1), the first space-borne prototype from Caltech's Space Solar Power Project (SSPP). SSPP aims to harvest solar power in space and transmit it to the Earth's surface. [Caltech story]

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Watson Lecture on May 10: Chiara Daraio on Developing Wearables That Can Help Us Monitor Our Health


On Wednesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. PDT in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus, Chiara Daraio, the G. Bradford Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics and Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, will continue the 100th anniversary season of the Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series with "Making Wearable Materials Smarter."

Advances in materials science, manufacturing, and computer science have enabled transformative innovations in wearable materials, with designs that can monitor metabolic activity, change stiffness on command, and even interpret our mood. These new materials will allow garments and fashion to bring together the physical and digital worlds. In this lecture, Daraio will show examples of how these materials will help us stay healthy, how they will revolutionize the way we communicate, and how they will adaptively support our everyday needs. [Caltech story]

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Caltech to Launch Space Solar Power Technology Demo into Orbit in January


In January 2023, the Caltech Space Solar Power Project (SSPP) is poised to launch into orbit a prototype, dubbed the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD), which will test several key components of an ambitious plan to harvest solar power in space and beam the energy back to Earth. [Caltech story]

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New Process Allows 3-D Printing of Microscale Metallic Parts


Engineers at Caltech have developed a method for 3-D printing pure and multicomponent metals, at a resolution that is, in some cases, an order of magnitude smaller than previously possible. "We had to develop a new way of doing it, and we couldn't rely on heat to build our structures," says Max Saccone. [Caltech story]

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Beaming Clean Energy From Space


Once considered science fiction, technology capable of collecting solar power in space and beaming it to Earth to provide a global supply of clean and affordable energy is moving closer to reality. Through the Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP), a team of Caltech researchers is working to deploy a constellation of modular spacecraft that collect sunlight, transform it into electricity, then wirelessly transmit that electricity wherever it is needed—including to places that currently have no access to reliable power. "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented project," says Harry Atwater, Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science; Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Liquid Sunlight Alliance. "It exemplifies the boldness and ambition needed to address one of the most significant challenges of our time, providing clean and affordable energy to the world." [Caltech story]

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Mimicking Termites to Generate New Materials


Inspired by the way termites build their nests, researchers at Caltech have developed a framework to design new materials that mimic the fundamental rules hidden in nature's growth patterns. "We thought that by understanding how a termite contributes to the nest's fabrication, we could define simple rules for designing architected materials with unique mechanical properties," says Chiara Daraio, G. Bradford Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute. [Caltech story]

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