Advanced Materials & Nanoscience
Building an Age of Precision Materials
Caltech's scientists and engineers are pioneering the development of novel materials and devices with superior properties.
Capitalizing on diverse expertise in fundamental and applied physics, chemistry, biology, nanoscience, and engineering, Caltech researchers are leading the exploration of the function and design of materials across multiple scales—from length and time to temperature and pressure. Aided by a suite of advanced fabrication and characterization tools and interdisciplinary research centers, Caltech is changing how work is done across the medical, energy, technology, communications, and defense industries.
Health and Medicine
- Improving retinal prostheses, chips, and surgical tools to improve vision for the blind and people with cataracts and myopia
- Developing portable, low-cost disease diagnostic devices and chips
- Designing sensors for improving and focusing cancer therapies
- Creating artificial heart valves and pumps for use in people with cardiovascular disease
- Using artificial proteins to assist in the development of artificial tissues and organs
- Driving the development of next-generation hard drives with significantly larger storage capacities
- Creating higher-quality and more-efficient sensors, transistors, and optical components
- Engineering ultrapowerful microscopes, advanced sensors, improved solar cells, and computers that use light for communication and processing
- Building fast, efficient global communication networks; improved data-center efficiency
- Designing ultraefficient, thin-film solar cells
- Making fuel from carbon dioxide, water, and captured sunlight
- Improving energy-storage materials, such as rechargeable batteries
- Advancing thermoelectric materials that efficiently convert wasted heat, at lower temperatures, into energy
Quantum Information Science
- Leading next-generation electronics, optics, computers, and communication technologies
- Improving data acquisition, transmission, and processing
- Laying the theoretical groundwork for quantum computers
- Building lighter, stronger, and higher-quality materials for military armor, vehicles, and manufacturing
- Discovering novel composites, polymers, elastics, adhesives, and metals
- Studying how materials operate, deform, and change properties at all scales
- Paving the way for high-temperature superconductors
- Kavli Nanoscience Institute
- Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)
- Resnick Sustainability Institute
- Center for the Science and Engineering of Materials
- Caltech Center for Sustainable Energy Research
- Materials and Process Simulation Center
- Center for the Predictive Modeling and Simulation of High-Energy Density Dynamic Response of Materials
- Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative: Engineering Microstructural Complexity in Ferroelectric Devices
- Metallic glasses were first discovered at Caltech in the 1960s and later produced in bulk form by William Johnson's group in the early 1990s.
- Richard Feynman launched the field of nanoscience at Caltech with his pioneering investigations into the vast potential of extremely small devices.
- Caltech scientists are behind many significant discoveries at the fundamental level, including the origin of entropy in solid materials, why crystals become unstable and turn into glasses, and how stress affects transformation in solids.
Emerging Fields or Areas of Research
Caltech is interested in further exploring the composition of materials and how they function at the smallest scale and in very extreme conditions. This will inform ongoing efforts to create advanced devices and materials that move society and industry forward.