Disease Diagnosis at the Touch of a Button
Axel Scherer, Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics, and colleagues have built a new version of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device, which generates many copies of a pathogenic nucleic acid, allowing the infection to be detected. The device is the result of nearly 10 years of research at Caltech. In 2004, Scherer, a leader in the field of microfluidics, and George Maltezos were investigating how to manipulate biological fluids on a chip. While this was an interesting engineering problem, Maltezos began to wonder how he could apply the microfluidic techniques that he was perfecting to real-world problems. Then the H5N1 bird flu pandemic erupted in Asia, and the team had their real-world problem. [Caltech Release]
EAS Division Welcomes New Deputy Chair
Peter Schröder, Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, is the new Deputy Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. "I look forward to working with Peter over the next several years as we continue with our quest to remain a unique collaborative community of isolated singularities that sets a compelling model as a research and teaching institution," says Chair Ares Rosakis.
Creating New Quantum Building Blocks
Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have laid the groundwork for an on-chip optical quantum network by showing that defects in diamond can be used as quantum building blocks that interact with one another via photons. "Right now we only have one nitrogen-vacancy center that's emitting photons, but in the future we envision creating multiple nitrogen-vacancy centers that emit photons on the same chip," Faraon says. [Caltech Release]
Nadia Lapusta, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and colleagues have created new earthquake fault models showing that “stable” zones may contribute to the generation of massive earthquakes. "Lapusta and Noda's realistic earthquake fault models are critical to our understanding of earthquakes—knowledge that is essential to reducing the potential catastrophic consequences of seismic hazards," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "This work beautifully illustrates the way that fundamental, interdisciplinary research in the mechanics of seismology at Caltech is having a positive impact on society." [Caltech Release]