Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics
Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have identified a source of electronic noise that could affect the functioning of instruments operating at very low temperatures, such as devices used in radio telescopes and advanced physics experiments. The team's findings also suggest that it may be possible to develop engineering strategies to make phonon heat transfer more efficient at low temperatures. For example, one possibility might be to change the design of transistors so that phonon generation takes place over a broader volume. "If you can make the phonon generation more spread out, then in principle you could reduce the temperature rise that occurs," Professor Minnich says. "We don't know what the precise strategy will be yet, but now we know the direction we should be going. That's an improvement." [Caltech release]
Professor Rosakis Elected to Academia Europaea
Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering as well as the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in the section of Physics and Engineering Sciences. The Academia Europaea was founded in 1988 and is an organization of eminent, individual scholars from across the continent of Europe. The 3000 members cover a wide range of academic disciplines including the humanities, social, physical and life sciences as well as mathematics, engineering and medicine. In addition to Professor Ares Rosakis, Caltech's Provost Edward Stolper, the Institute's past president David Baltimore, and Professor Alexander Varshavsky are members of the Academy.
Seismology and Resilient Infrastructure
Domniki Asimaki, Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, is interested in the behavior of geotechnical systems under the influence of forces such as wind, waves, and seismological activity. Using this information, she hopes to make predictive computer models that can lead to the design of an infrastructure that is resilient to natural and man-made hazards. Her work also relates to the harvesting of wind energy and she explains, “People like myself with an engineering background, but also with scientific curiosity, can work in areas like this and set the performance and design standards from scratch. But because the energy-harvesting industry is just starting out, we need to make it innovative while still financially feasible.” [Interview with Professor Asimaki] [ENGenious article]
Professor Andrade Elected to Engineering Mechanics’ Board of Governors
José E. Andrade, Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected as a member of the Board of Governors for the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) . The goal of the EMI is to stimulate and support mechanics-related activities by enabling new technologies, developing rational and quantitative decision-making paradigms, advancing mechanics as a science, and playing key roles in the education of university students and practicing engineers.