News & Events


Caltech’s Smart Charging Network for Electrical Vehicles


Charging electric vehicles (EVs) can require a substantial amount of electricity (most EVs charge at 7 kilowatts, the equivalent of simultaneously running 70 desktop computers). Steven Low, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, has developed Caltech's adaptive charging network, which uses a smart algorithm to coordinate the charging schedule with the Institute's existing electrical infrastructure. This program helps minimize energy usage and about 30 percent of the electricity at each charging station is from carbon-free renewable sources. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE energy research highlights CMS Steven Low

Electrical Vehicle Design and Racing


The students in the CS/EE/ME 75 class, Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, invited industry experts to their midterm design review on the evening of February 11, 2016. The students are currently in the manufacturing phase and plan to finish the vehicle frame this week and attach the mounting brackets shortly thereafter. They aim to have a running prototype electrical vehicle by mid-March to get early testing data before refining their design for the upcoming Formula SAE competition. The course is co-taught by Professors Guillaume Blanquart, Azita Emami, and Richard Murray as well as the Executive Director for the Resnick Institute, Neil Fromer. Several students in the course are also members of the Caltech Sustainable Vehicle Club led by undergraduate student Robert Anderson. [Huffpost Education Blog]

Tags: EE energy MCE CMS Guillaume Blanquart Richard Murray Rob Anderson Azita Emami Neil Fromer

Next-Generation Distribution Infrastructure


Caltech’s smart grid team led by Professors John DoyleSteven Low, and Adam Wierman along with their collaborators have been awarded $3.9 million for an Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Network Optimized Distributed Energy System (NODES) project entitled "Real-time Optimization and Control of Next-Generation Distribution Infrastructure."  NODES is ARPA-E’s new program focused on enabling more than 50% usage of renewable power on the grid. The Caltech team will develop a comprehensive distribution network management framework that unifies real-time voltage and frequency control at the home/distributed energy resource controllers’ level with network-wide energy management at the utility/aggregator level. [Learn more]

Tags: EE energy CMS Adam Wierman John Doyle Steven Low

Space Solar Power Initiative


Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights GALCIT Harry Atwater Ares Rosakis Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

Bending the Light with a Tiny Chip


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed a new light-bending silicon chip that acts as a lens-free projector--and could one day end up in your cell phone. They were able to bypass traditional optics by manipulating the coherence of light—a property that allows the researchers to "bend" the light waves on the surface of the chip without lenses or the use of any mechanical movement. [Caltech Release]

Tags: EE energy research highlights MedE Ali Hajimiri

A New Laser for a Faster Internet


Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering, and his group have developed a new laser that has the potential to increase by orders of magnitude the rate of data transmission in the optical-fiber network—the backbone of the Internet. "What became the prime motivator for our project was that the present-day laser designs have an internal architecture which is unfavorable for high spectral-purity operation. This is because they allow a large and theoretically unavoidable optical noise to comingle with the coherent laser and thus degrade its spectral purity," Professor Yariv describes. [Caltech Release]

Tags: Amnon Yariv APhMS EE energy research highlights

Creating Indestructible Self-Healing Circuits


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have built electronic chips that repair themselves. The team has demonstrated this self-healing capability in tiny power amplifiers. The amplifiers are so small, in fact, that 76 of the chips—including everything they need to self-heal—could fit on a single penny. In perhaps the most dramatic of their experiments, the team destroyed various parts of their chips by zapping them multiple times with a high-power laser, and then observed as the chips automatically developed a work-around in less than a second. [Caltech Release]

Tags: EE energy MedE Ali Hajimiri

Sander Weinreb Receives Microwave Pioneer Award


Dr. Sander Weinreb, Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2013 Microwave Pioneer Award from the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S). The Microwave Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding pioneering technical contributions that advance microwave theory and techniques, which are described in an archival paper published at least 20 years prior to the year of the award. [Past Awardees]

Tags: EE honors energy Sander Weinreb

A New Tool for Secret Agents—And the Rest of Us


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Postdoctoral Scholar in Electrical Engineering, Kaushik Sengupta, have developed tiny inexpensive silicon microchips that generate terahertz (THz) waves that fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum and that can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays. When incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming. "This extraordinary level of creativity, which has enabled imaging in the terahertz frequency range, is very much in line with Caltech's long tradition of innovation in the area of CMOS technology," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "Caltech engineers, like Ali Hajimiri, truly work in an interdisciplinary way to push the boundaries of what is possible." [Caltech Release]

Tags: EE energy research highlights MedE health Ali Hajimiri Kaushik Sengupta

Point of Light


Hyuck Choo, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Postdoctoral Scholar Myung-Ki Kim have invented a light-focusing device that may lead to applications in computing, communications, and imaging. This new kind of waveguide is made of amorphous silicon dioxide and is covered in a thin layer of gold. Just under two microns long, the device is a rectangular box that tapers to a point at one end. With the new device, light can ultimately be focused in three dimensions, producing a point a few nanometers across, and using half of the light that's sent through, Choo says. (Focusing the light into a slightly bigger spot, 14 by 80 nanometers in size, boosts the efficiency to 70 percent). The key feature behind the device's focusing ability and efficiency, he says, is its unique design and shape. [Caltech Release and Video]

Tags: EE energy research highlights Hyuck Choo Myung-Ki Kim