News & Events


Largest Biochemical Circuit Built Out of Small Synthetic DNA Molecules


Lulu Qian, Senior Postdoctoral Scholar in Bioengineering, and colleagues including Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, have built the most complex biochemical circuit ever created from scratch made with DNA-based devices in a test tube that are analogous to the electronic transistors on a computer chip."We're trying to borrow the ideas that have had huge success in the electronic world, such as abstract representations of computing operations, programming languages, and compilers, and apply them to the biomolecular world," says Dr. Qian. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health CMS Erik Winfree Lulu Qian

Stimulating Electrode Array Assists Paraplegic Man to Stand and Move Legs Voluntarily


Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues including Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, have used a stimulating electrode array to assist a paralyzed man to stand, step on a treadmill with assistance, and, over time, to regain voluntary movements of his limbs. Using a combination of experimentation, computational models of the array and spinal cord, and machine-learning algorithms, Professor Burdick and his colleagues are now trying to optimize the stimulation pattern to achieve the best effects, and to improve the design of the electrode array. Further advances in the technology should lead to better control of the stepping and standing processes. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights MedE health Yu-Chong Tai MCE Joel Burdick

How an Idea Becomes a Business


Students in Ken Pickar's course Entrepreneurial Development (E 102) have the opportunity to identify a technology currently under study at Caltech and develop a business plan for it. The ideas used by the students this year included a solid-state memory technology developed by Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering. In this business plan the students proposed targeting Netflix and other high-volume streaming content providers. Another team pinpointed a new market for the vertical wind turbines of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering. A third team pitched a noninvasive method for breaking up arterial plaques using the concentrated-acoustic-pulse technology developed by Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT Jehoshua Bruck John Dabiri Ken Pickar

Weak Electrical Fields in the Brain Help Neurons Fire Together


Costas Anastassiou, a postdoctoral scholar working with Professor Christof Koch, and colleagues have found that coordinated behavior occurs in the brain whether or not neurons are actually connected via synapses.  To tease out the effects, Anastassiou and his colleagues, focused on strong but slowly oscillating fields, called local field potentials (LFP), that arise from neural circuits composed of just a few rat brain cells.  Measuring those fields and their effects required positioning a cluster of tiny electrodes within a volume equivalent to that of a single cell body—and at distances of less than 50 millionths of a meter from one another. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch Costas Anastassiou

Graduate Student's Application of the MUSIC Algorithm Receives Best Paper Award


Piya Pal, graduate student in Electrical Engineering, received the best student paper award at the IEEE Digital Signal Processing workshop for her paper, coauthored with Professor P. P. Vaidyanathan, entitled "Coprime sampling and the MUSIC algorithm."

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Tags: EE honors research highlights P. P. Vaidyanathan Piya Pal Digital Signal Processing

Amnon Yariv Awarded National Medal of Science


Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering, has received one of the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, and engineers. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Science. Professor Yariv's research group has pioneered the field of optoelectronics. Many innovations such as distributed Feedback (DFB) Semiconductor Lasers, Integrated Optoelectronic Circuits, Optical Phase Conjugation, External Cavity Tunable Semiconductor Lasers, Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIP's), and all-fiber add/drop filters have found their beginnings in his research group. Currently, his group’s research aims at developing the new technologies that will be mandated by the seemingly endless appetite for optical bandwidth. Specifically, they are working at extending, to the field of laser optics, some key ideas that form the foundation of the microwaves and the radio frequencies fields. [Caltech Press Release], [White House Press Release] [Watch the White House Cermony]

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Jehoshua Bruck Receives IEEE Best Paper Award


Jehoshua Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering, and colleagues' paper entitled Rank Modulation for Flash Memories has received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Best Paper Award in Signal Processing and Coding for Data Storage. Rank modulation is a novel data representation scheme which the group has developed for multilevel flash memory cells. The idea is that a set of cells stores information in the permutation induced by the relative charge levels of the individual cells. As opposed to iterative (and slow) programming in current technology, rank modulation allows fast programming that is based on push-to-the-top operations, namely, raising the charge level of a single cell to be the highest one. [pdf] [Patent]

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Professor Yang Receives 2010 NIH Director's New Innovator Award


Changhuei Yang, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, is a 2010 NIH Director's New Innovator Award recipient. The award helps new investigators take exceptional and innovative research ideas to the next level. Professor Yang and his research team will be using the grant associated with the award to investigate a new research direction in biophotonics—the study of the interaction of time-reversed light with biological structures. [Caltech Press Release]

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Yu-Chong Tai Receives 2010 Breakthrough Award


Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, is a recipient of a 2010 Breakthrough Award by Popular Mechanics for his work on an artificial retina. [Popular Mechanics Article]

Tags: EE honors research highlights health Yu-Chong Tai MCE Popular Mechanics

Peter Siegel Has Been Selected by the IEEE to Spearhead a New Journal


Peter H. Siegel, Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering and a Member of the Professional Staff in Biology, has been selected by the IEEE to spearhead a new journal: IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology. The journal will highlight activities in the emerging field of far-infrared technology (wavelength range between 1mm and 10 microns) with applications in high frequency communications, space, Earth and planetary science, ultrafast chemistry and physics, defense and security and even art history and preservation. The inaugural issue is slated for the fall of 2011.

Tags: EE research highlights Peter Siegel