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Programmed to Fold: RNA Origami

08-20-14

Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA. "RNA origami is still in its infancy," says Rothemund. "Nevertheless, I believe that RNA origami, because of their potential to be manufactured by cells, and because of the extra functionality possible with RNA, will have at least as big an impact as DNA origami." [Caltech Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health CMS Paul Rothemund

Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds

06-02-14

Tracey C. Ho, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and colleagues’ research on stateless data transmission using Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC) promises higher network speeds with an elegant mathematical approach to data error correction and redundancy. They have shown that data could be transmitted without link layer flow control bogging down throughput with retransmission requests, and also the size of the transmission can be optimized for network efficiency and application latency constraints. [Networkworld Blog]

Tags: CMS Tracey Ho research highlight

Celebrating with Professor Carver Mead

05-02-14

Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. Professor Mead is best known for his pioneering work on VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s, which made it possible to greatly increase the number of transistors placed on a single semiconductor chip. It is no exaggeration to say that the computer era we live in would not have been possible without VLSI technology. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was. "There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," Mead says. [Caltech interview] [Share Your Memories] [ENGenious article]

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Engineering and Art

04-25-14

Students in Professor Hillary Mushkin’s new media arts seminar (E/H/Art 89 New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries) have put on a unique exhibition highlighting art and engineering. The course provides a platform for an expanded understanding of engineering and an active, project-based engagement with art history. [List of all projects]

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Tags: EE research highlights MCE CMS Hillary Mushkin

Bending the Light with a Tiny Chip

03-10-14

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

02-26-14

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]

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Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser

02-14-14

William Bridges, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, discovered and patented the Argon ion laser on February 14, 1964, while at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today noble gas (argon, krypton, xenon) lasers are used in a variety of applications including DNA sequencers, cell sorters, eye surgery, and laser light shows. Professor Bridges' research work with lasers involved an airborne night reconnaissance system (AN/AVD-3), space communications systems, early high power laser weapons (the carbon dioxide gas dynamic laser), and hydrogen maser clocks for the global positioning system. He also holds the patent for the Ionized Noble Gas Laser. [Oral History of Prof. Bridges]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights EAS history William Bridges

Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience

01-06-14

A recent New York Times' Science article about a new computing approach based on the nervous system mentions Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. The new processors used in this approach consist of electronic components that can be connected by wires that mimic biological synapses. Because they are based on large groups of neuron-like elements, they are known as neuromorphic processors, a term credited to Carver Mead, who pioneered the concept in the late 1980s. [New York Times Article] [ENGenious Article about Carver Mead]

Tags: EE research highlights health CMS Carver Mead

Pushing Microscopy Beyond Standard Limits

07-29-13

Changhuei Yang, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues have shown how to make cost-effective, ultra-high-performance microscopes. The final images produced by their new system contain 100 times more information than those produced by conventional microscope platforms. And building upon a conventional microscope, their new system costs only about $200 to implement. This new method could have wide applications not only in digital pathology but also in everything from hematology to wafer inspection to forensic photography. [Caltech Release]

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Senior Spotlight

05-31-13

Electrical Engineering Senior Raymond Jimenez was first introduced to Caltech as a high school student when he worked in the laboratory of Paul Bellan. As a Caltech undergraduate his favorite class was APh/EE 9, Solid-State Electronics for Integrated Circuits—a course then taught by Oskar Painter. He also worked on a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project with Axel Scherer, who describes Jimenez as "one of the most capable undergraduates whom I have had the pleasure of working with over my past 20 years at Caltech," adding that he has "extraordinary" abilities. "Raymond brought tremendous enthusiasm, talent, and insight to our neural probe project," Scherer says. "It was fun working with him on our research projects, and I think of him more as a scientific collaborator than as a student." Raymond and his peers will be honored at Caltech's 119th Commencement on June 14 at 10 a.m. [Caltech Spotlight]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Oskar Painter Paul Bellan Axel Scherer Raymond Jimenez