Caltech and the Clean-Energy "Sputnik Moment"

The quest for clean energy, and our country's competitiveness both now and in the future is, according to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, our "Sputnik Moment."

 

Alternative Transportation Programs Honored

Caltech's commuter- and environmentally friendly programs haven't gone without notice. Indeed, the university recently was singled out for a corporate Blue Diamond Award by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Caltech/JPL Experiments Improve Accuracy of Ozone Predictions in Air-Quality Models

A team of scientists led by researchers from Caltech and JPL have fully characterized a key chemical reaction that affects the formation of pollutants in smoggy air. The findings suggest that in the most polluted parts of Los Angeles—and on the most polluted days in those areas—current models are underestimating ozone levels, by between 5 to 10 percent.

Capturing the Sun

An encounter with summer smog in Yosemite National Park led Caltech graduate student and accomplished nature photographer William Chueh to take action through science. His resulting research could help reduce the planet's dependence on fossil fuels, not to mention clean the air over Yosemite.

Caltech-led Team Gets up to $122 Million for Energy Innovation Hub

As part of a broad effort to achieve breakthrough innovations in energy production, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced an award of up to $122 million over five years to a multidisciplinary team of top scientists, led by Caltech, to establish an Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight.  

Something in the Air

For the past month, Caltech scientists have been zigzagging across the Los Angeles basin. Using an orange and white DeHavilland Twin Otter aircraft packed with instruments, the researchers have been sampling the air, measuring particles and pollutants to help policymakers improve air quality and dampen the impacts of climate change.

Schooling Fish Offer New Ideas for Wind Farming

The quest to derive energy from wind may soon be getting some help from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) fluid-dynamics expert John Dabiri-and a school of fish.

Caltech-Led Team Designs Novel Negative-Index Metamaterial that Responds to Visible Light

A group of scientists led by researchers from Caltech has engineered a type of artificial optical material—a metamaterial—with a particular three-dimensional structure such that light exhibits a negative index of refraction upon entering the material. In other words, this material bends light in the "wrong" direction from what normally would be expected, irrespective of the angle of the approaching light.

Solar Decathlon

Students from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) have been chosen to build a green house near the White House. They will compete against teams from around the world in the biennial Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Caltech Researchers Create Highly Absorbing, Flexible Solar Cells with Silicon Wire Arrays

Using arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded in a polymer substrate, a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created a new type of flexible solar cell that enhances the absorption of sunlight and efficiently converts its photons into electrons. The solar cell does all this using only a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells. 

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