News & Events


New Insight into Nonlinear Optical Resonators Unlocks Door to Numerous Potential Applications


Devices known as optical parametric oscillators are among the widely used nonlinear resonators in optics; they are "nonlinear" in that there is light flowing into the system and light leaking out, but not at the same wavelengths. Though these oscillators are useful in a variety of applications, including in quantum optics experiments, the physics that underpins how their output wavelength, or spectrum, behaves is not well understood. "When you add strong nonlinearity to resonators, you enter what we call a 'rich physics regime,'" says Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. "'Rich' in physics terms usually means complicated and hard to use, but we need nonlinearities to create useful functionalities such as switching for computing." To be able to make full use of nonlinear optical resonators, researchers want to be able to understand and model the physics that underpin how they work. Marandi and his colleagues recently uncovered a potential way to engineer those rich physics, while discovering phase transitions in the light that is generated by the resonators. [Caltech story]

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Studying Chaos with One of the World's Fastest Cameras


There are things in life that can be predicted reasonably well. The tides rise and fall. A billiard ball bounces around a table according to orderly geometry. And then there are things that defy easy prediction: The hurricane that changes direction without warning. The splashing of water in a fountain. These phenomena and others like them can be described as chaotic systems. Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has developed a new tool that might help to better understand chaotic systems. [Caltech story]

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Lihong Wang Named to National Academy of Inventors


Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has been named fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Election as a fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. The Wang lab has developed photoacoustic imaging that allows researchers to see into biological tissues noninvasively, and to peer deeper into the body by nearly two orders of magnitude compared to conventional optical microscopy. [Caltech story] [List of 2020 Fellows]

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Lihong Wang Receives NIH BRAIN Grant


Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has received funding for neuroscience projects from the National Institutes of Health's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Wang and his team aim to develop a technology called 3D photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT) that will rapidly image large-scale neural activity in human brains with high sensitivity. "Photoacoustic imaging of adult human brains is one of the most challenging frontiers in our field," says Wang. "It requires innovation to overcome the signal attenuation and wavefront distortion due to the skull. I'm glad that the NIH has the vision to fund this worthy research direction." [Caltech story]

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Ultrafast Camera Films 3-D Movies at 100 Billion Frames Per Second


Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has developed technology that can reach blistering speeds of 70 trillion frames per second, fast enough to see light travel. Just like the camera in your cell phone, though, it can only produce flat images. Now, Wang's lab has gone a step further to create a camera that not only records video at incredibly fast speeds but does so in three dimensions. [Caltech story]

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Advancing Future Quantum Science Efforts


Five new Department of Energy centers will apply quantum information science to emerging technologies. The centers will develop cutting-edge quantum technologies for use in a wide range of possible applications including scientific computing; fundamental physics and chemistry research; and the design of solar cells and of new materials and pharmaceuticals. Caltech faculty will participate in four of the new science centers: the Quantum Systems Accelerator, led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, also known as Berkeley Lab; the Quantum Science Center, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Q-NEXT, led by Argonne National Laboratory; and the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage, led by Brookhaven National Laboratory. [Caltech story]

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Mohith Manohara Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Electrical engineering student Mohith Manohara is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study. Mohith is currently a junior studying Electrical Engineering at Caltech. He does research on phased arrays with Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Co-Director, Space-Based Solar Power Project, and leads the electronics on the Caltech Robotics Team. This summer he will be doing an internship at a startup called Epirus, and afterwards he plans to pursue a PhD. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund.

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Lei Li Wins Charles Wilts Prize


Lei Li advised by Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Multi-contrast Photoacoustic Computed Tomography." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

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Seeing Through Opaque Media


Changhuei Yang, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medical Engineering, has developed a technique that combines fluorescence and ultrasound to peer through opaque media, such as biological tissue. "We hope that one day this method can be deployed to extend the operating depth of fluorescence microscopy and help image fluorescent labeled cells deep inside living animals," says Yang. [Caltech story]

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New Ultrafast Camera Takes 70 Trillion Pictures Per Second


A new camera developed by Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, is capable of taking as many as 70 trillion frames per second. The camera technology, which Wang calls compressed ultrafast spectral photography (CUSP), combines a laser that emits extremely short pulses of laser light that last only one quadrillionth of a second (one femtosecond) with optics and a specialized type of camera. The technology could open up new avenues of research in fields that include fundamental physics, next-generation semiconductor miniaturization, and the life sciences. "We envision applications in a rich variety of extremely fast phenomena, such as ultrashort light propagation, wave propagation, nuclear fusion, photon transport in clouds and biological tissues, and fluorescent decay of biomolecules, among other things," Wang says. [Caltech story]

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