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LIGO Listens for Gravitational Echoes of the Birth of the Universe
08/19/2009

LIGO Listens for Gravitational Echoes of the Birth of the Universe

Kathy Svitil

An investigation by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration has significantly advanced our understanding of the early evolution of the universe. Analysis of data taken from 2005 to 2007 sets the most stringent limits yet on the amount of gravitational waves that could have come from the Big Bang in the gravitational wave frequency band where LIGO can observe. The results put new constraints on the details of how the universe looked in its earliest moments.

Caltech and IBM Scientists Use Self-Assembled DNA Scaffolding to Build Tiny Circuit Boards
08/17/2009

Caltech and IBM Scientists Use Self-Assembled DNA Scaffolding to Build Tiny Circuit Boards

Kathy Svitil

Scientists at the Caltech and IBM's Almaden Research Center have developed a new technique to orient and position self-assembled DNA shapes and patterns--or "DNA origami"--on surfaces that are compatible with today's semiconductor manufacturing equipment. These precisely positioned DNA nanostructures, each no more than one one-thousandth the width of a human hair, can serve as scaffolds or miniature circuit boards for the precise assembly of computer-chip components.

Caltech Physicists Create First Nanoscale Mass Spectrometer
07/21/2009

Caltech Physicists Create First Nanoscale Mass Spectrometer

Kathy Svitil

Using devices millionths of a meter in size, physicists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a technique to determine the mass of a single molecule, in real time.

Mechanics: Nano Meets Quantum
06/19/2009

Mechanics: Nano Meets Quantum

Kathy Svitil

Physicists at Caltech have developed a new tool that can be used to search for quantum effects in an ordinary object.

Caltech Scientists Use High-Pressure "Alchemy" to Create Nonexpanding Metals
06/15/2009

Caltech Scientists Use High-Pressure "Alchemy" to Create Nonexpanding Metals

Kathy Svitil

By squeezing a typical metal alloy at pressures hundreds of thousands of times greater than normal atmospheric pressure, scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a material that does not expand when heated, as does nearly every normal metal, and acts like a metal with an entirely different chemical composition. 

Unique Sky Survey Brings New Objects into Focus
06/15/2009

Unique Sky Survey Brings New Objects into Focus

Jon Weiner

An innovative sky survey has begun returning images that will be used to detect unprecedented numbers of powerful cosmic explosions–called supernovae–in distant galaxies, and variable brightness stars in our own Milky Way.

The Andromeda galaxy, as seen with the new PTF camera on the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory
Caltech Visiting Associate Champions the Study of Solar Eclipses in the Modern Era
06/10/2009

Caltech Visiting Associate Champions the Study of Solar Eclipses in the Modern Era

Lori Oliwenstein

Championing the modern-day use of solar eclipses to solve a set of modern problems is the goal of a review article written by Jay Pasachoff, visiting associate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College. The review is the cover story of the June 11 issue of Nature, as part of its coverage of the International Year of Astronomy.

Caltech Scientists Create Nanoscale Zipper Cavity that Responds to Single Photons of Light
06/04/2009

Caltech Scientists Create Nanoscale Zipper Cavity that Responds to Single Photons of Light

Lori Oliwenstein

Physicists at Caltech have developed a nanoscale device that can be used for force detection, optical communication, and more. The device exploits the mechanical properties of light to create an optomechanical cavity in which interactions between light and motion are greatly strengthened and enhanced. These interactions, notes Oskar Painter, associate professor of applied physics at Caltech, and the principal investigator on the research, are the largest demonstrated to date.  

Uncertainty Principle Used to Detect Entanglement of Photon Shared Among Four Locations
05/08/2009

Uncertainty Principle Used to Detect Entanglement of Photon Shared Among Four Locations

Kathy Svitil

Scientists at Caltech have developed an efficient method to detect entanglement shared among multiple parts of an optical system. They show how entanglement, in the form of beams of light simultaneously propagating along four distinct paths, can be detected with a surprisingly small number of measurements. Entanglement is an essential resource in quantum information science, which is the study of advanced computation and communication based on the laws of quantum mechanics.

Caltech Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii to be Decommissioned
04/30/2009

Caltech Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii to be Decommissioned

Jon Weiner

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) will begin decommissioning the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) in Hawaii. Plans call for the dismantling of the observatory to begin in 2016, with the return of the site to its natural state by 2018.