Resnick Institute

News

Prof. Kimberly See

July 31, 2019

The Future of Green Energy: How Caltech Chemist Kimberly See is Energizing Battery Research.


Shrinking glaciers and a shriveling snowpack, dying forests and dwindling water supplies. These are just some of the challenges faced by the state of Colorado as global temperatures continue to rise. Colorado is, of course, not alone in facing these challenges. But for Caltech chemist Kimberly See, that’s where it hits home. She grew up in the state, and it was there that she developed an appreciation for the natural world and an acute awareness of the harmful effects humans can have on it.

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Flow Logo

July 26, 2019

FLOW Rocket Fund Awards Seven New Grants


The Resnick Institute’s FLOW Rocket Fund awarded seven grants fostering innovation in novel firebreak materials, advanced manufacturing, air conditioning/storage technologies, grid management software, and new approaches to EV charging.

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Caltech researchers Orland Bateman (left) and Rachel Ford prepare samples before using neutrons to study a novel form of mixed matrix membrane. (Credit: ORNL/Carlos Jones)

July 15, 2019

Rachel Ford's Novel Membrane Research Noted in ORNL Feature


Learn about how Caltech researchers are using neutron scattering techniques at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to study novel membranes, including Resnick grad fellow Rachel Ford, who aims to develop membranes for applications in sustainability. She notes, “During fabrication, the functional polymer becomes interlocked with the structural one, so the two can’t separate later on. The subsequent membrane offers long-lasting functionality in applications ranging from water purification to environmentally friendly chemical production”.

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Harry Atwater

June 20, 2019

Harry Atwater Receives IEEE Cherry Award


Congratulations to Resnick Institute founding director Harry Atwater! Harry is the 2019 recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) William Cherry Award in recognition of his contributions to photovoltaic science and technology.

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Daniel Guo

June 14, 2019

Daniel Guo Wins Demetriades-Tsafka-Kokkalis Prize


Congratulations to Resnick Fellow Linqi (Daniel) Guo! He has received the 2019 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for his outstanding research on real-time failure mitigation in power systems.

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Zachary Lee and Kyle Virgil

May 28, 2019

Resnick Institute Awards Two Graduate Research Fellowships


Congrats to our new fellows Zachary Lee and Kyle Virgil!

Zach is developing an open-source toolbox for EV charging research based on data and insights captured from charging systems in use today. He is advised by Professor Steven Low and is part of Low’s team that helped develop the software and algorithms that make up the Adaptive Charging Network (ACN), a framework for smart charging systems, which was developed at Caltech and has since been commercialized by PowerFlex, a Caltech startup.

Kyle researches new materials for enhanced or “next-generation” photovoltaics, including hybrid perovskites. He aims to understand the charged particle movement within these materials towards the development of cheaper, more robust and globally accessible solar energy technology. Kyle is advised by Professors Geoffrey Blake and Harry Atwater.

Click through to learn more about ALL of our grad fellows!

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Konstantinos P. Giapis with his reactor that converts carbon dioxide to molecular oxygen.

May 24, 2019

Comet Inspires Chemistry for Making Breathable Oxygen on Mars


The apparatus Giapis designed to perform the reaction works like a particle accelerator, turning the CO2 molecules into ions by giving them a charge and then accelerating them using an electric field, albeit at much lower energies than are found in a particle accelerator.

He hopes that a variation of his reactor could be used to do the same thing at more useful scales—perhaps one day serving as a source of breathable air for astronauts on Mars or being used to combat climate change by pulling CO2, a greenhouse gas, out of Earth's atmosphere and turning it into oxygen.

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Cover image of the book Scarcity in the Modern World

April 15, 2019

New Book: Scarcity in the Modern World


Scarcity in the Modern World, a book examining how concerns about the scarcity of environmental resources such as water, food, energy and materials have developed, and subsequently been managed, from the 18th to the 21st century has recenly been published.

Resnick Institute executive director Dr. Neil Fromer is a co-editor of the volume, that grew out of an interdisciplinary workshop, co-hosted by Resnick Institute in 2014. The workshop focused on ways in which scarcity and shortage in resources have appeared in the past and might appear in the future.

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Tina Boville

March 27, 2019

Tina Boville's Path to Green Bioengineering Profiled by Benchling


A fascination with biology and an excitement about its applications stuck with Tina throughout her childhood. These interests pushed her toward a career in science—specifically towards a career in protein engineering and biochemistry. Now, she’s working at the cutting edge of science, creating things you wouldn’t otherwise find in nature.

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Jay Winkler

March 21, 2019

A Laser Focus on Finding Better Ways to Make Renewable Fuels


Jay Winkler and his team are zapping metals to create new solar-fuel catalysts. This work, which was led by Harvard University's Bryan Hunter while he was a graduate student and Resnick Fellow at Caltech in the Gray Lab (PhD '17), will help other researchers tweak the catalyst and make it even better.

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city sky

February 25, 2019

High CO2 Levels Can Destabilize Marine Layer Clouds


At high enough atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, Earth could reach a tipping point where marine stratus clouds become unstable and disappear, triggering a spike in global warming, according to a new modeling study.

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Ying Shi Teh

February 12, 2019

Resnick Fellow Ying Shi Teh Wins First Place At Ferro2019


Mechanical engineering graduate student and Resnick Fellow Ying Shi Teh, advised by Professor Kaushik Bhattacharya, has won first place for her poster presentation at the Fundamental Physics of Ferroelectrics and related materials workshop (Ferro2019).

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Flow Logo

January 17, 2019

Rocket Fund 2018 Awards Target Clean Hydrogen, Energy Storage, Gas Sensing and Solar


The Resnick Institute’s Rocket Fund made five grants to new ventures developing innovations in two categories: energy management and sustainability.

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illustration of climate modeling grid

December 12, 2018

New Climate Model to be Built from the Ground Up


Facing the certainty of a changing climate coupled with the uncertainty that remains in predictions of how it will change, scientists and engineers from across the country are teaming up to build a new type of climate model that is designed to provide more precise and actionable predictions.

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illustration of the electrolyte solution

December 6, 2018

Focusing on the Negative is Good When it Comes to Batteries


New concept based on fluoride ions may increase battery lifespans. Imagine not having to charge your phone or laptop for weeks. That is the dream of researchers looking into alternative batteries that go beyond the current lithium-ion versions popular today.

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Zach Erickson

October 22, 2018

Making Climate Science Understandable for Everyone


Q&A with graduate student Zach Erickson, who recently returned from the Climate Science Translators Showcase

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Thomas Russell (left) and Harry Atwater (right)

October 18, 2018

Caltech Startup Aims to Make Solar Panels More Efficient


Technology from the Atwater Lab makes metal contacts for solar cells effectively transparent! ETC Solar won our FLOW competition and received a grant from FLOW's Rocket Fund to accelerate the technology toward commercialization.

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Frances Arnold

October 3, 2018

Frances Arnold Wins 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


Frances H. Arnold, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, has won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the directed evolution of enzymes".

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Xile Hu

September 11, 2018

Xile Hu Honored with 2018 Resonate Award


Xile Hu announced winner of the 2018 Resonate Award for developing abundant and non-precious metal catalysts for sustainable synthesis of added-value chemicals and cost-effective production of solar fuels.

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Kimberly See

August 28, 2018

From Colorado to Caltech: Meet Chemistry Professor Kimberly See


See's passion for the outdoors led her to focus on energy research, and more specifically, battery chemistry. She and her students are looking into potential new electrodes and electrolytes that go beyond the traditional chemical reactions using lithium-ion batteries.

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Caltech image

August 28, 2018

Researchers Put A.I. to Work Making Chemistry Predictions


Tom Miller, a professor of chemistry at Caltech; Matt Welborn, a postdoctoral scholar at the Resnick Sustainability Institute; and Lixue Cheng, a chemistry and chemical engineering graduate student, have developed a new tool that uses machine learning to predict chemical reactions long before reagents hit the test tube.

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ground deformation image

August 9, 2018

Animation Based on Satellite Data Shows SoCal "Breathing" Water


Using an unprecedented number of satellite radar images, geophysicists at Caltech have tracked how the ground in Southern California rises and falls as groundwater is pumped in and out of aquifers beneath the surface.

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Alessandro Zocca with Steven Low and Adam Wierman

June 21, 2018

New Model Shows Where to Improve Power Grids


Energy generation from renewable, but fluctuating, resources like solar and wind can add stress to the grid infrastructure, and in particular on specific links within it that can fail and cause brownouts. But how can we know where these vulnerable links are before that happens?

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solar panels

June 20, 2018

Clues to Solar Cell Efficiency Found at Atomic Level


For the past 10 years, a family of materials called metal-halide perovskites, which can efficiently convert sunlight to electricity, has been shaking up solar cell research. Unlike traditional silicon solar cells, perovskites do not need to be manufactured under high temperature and with high purity, making them comparatively cheaper and easier to work with.

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Xiaoqi Ren

June 20, 2018

Ren’s Optimization Research Honored!


Resnick Fellow and recent graduate Xiaoqi Ren PhD won the Bhansali Family Dissertation Prize in Computer Science AND the 2018 Demetriades-Tsafka-Kokkalis Prize in Benign Renewable Energy Sources or Related Fields.

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Flow Logo

June 20, 2018

Meet FLOW's 2018 Cleantech UP Winners!


Caltech's ETC Solar won the US Department of Energy sponsored $50,000 Cleantech UP Prize at our 2018 FLOW competition. ETC Solar's novel solar cell architecture and printing tool for solar cell manufacturers increases panel efficiency by 5 percent -a historic leap forward in improving panel performance, that can significantly reduce manufacturing costs.

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Vanessa and Deana Briceño

May 1, 2018

Making a Way: New Discovery Fund to Advance Sustainability


Starting this year, a new million-dollar endowment at Caltech will fund research focused on renewable energy and sustainability. The Briceño Family Discovery Fund honors the memory of the late Nelson Briceño (BS ’73) through a Break Through campaign gift to an institution that helped to shape his life.

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Earth image

April 20, 2018

Caltech Event Provides Introduction to Climate Science


Two-day series of lectures briefed attendees on the mechanisms driving climate change.

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Julia Greer

April 2018 Issue

Full Charge Ahead


The Caltech Effect covers batteries highlighting Professor Julia Greer.

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Earth image

April 11, 2018

Caltech Offers Climate School


Two-day Earth Week event aims to improve understanding of the mechanisms driving climate change.

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An artist's depiction of a bacterial enzyme and the high-energy carbon ring it created.

April 5, 2018

Caltech Scientists Breed Bacteria That Make Tiny High-Energy Carbon Rings


Engineered bacterial enzymes provide easy access to strained molecular structures rarely seen in nature. Kan says advancements like theirs are pushing chemistry in a greener direction.

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Andrey Vyatskikh

February 9, 2018

New Process Allows 3-D Printing of Nanoscale Metal Structures


For the first time, it is possible to create complex nanoscale metal structures using 3-D printing, thanks to a new technique developed at Caltech.

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molecular structure of the solar-fuel catalyst developed at Caltech

February 6, 2018

Production of Solar Fuels Inches Closer with Discovery by Caltech Scientists


Caltech researchers have made a discovery that they say could lead to the economically viable production of solar fuels in the next few years.

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Molecular structure of an enzyme based on the protein cytochrome c

November 29, 2017

Teaching Life a New Trick: Bacteria Make Boron-Carbon Bonds


Findings will lead to new and "greener" ways to manufacture drugs and other products.

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Satellite images of Shasta Lake

November 22, 2017

Engineers Model the California Reservoir Network


Study offers reservoir managers insight on how to plan and respond to drought conditions.

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LEDs

November 20, 2017

The Microscopic Origin of Efficiency Droop in LEDs


Semiconductor study shows that the coupling between electrons and thermal vibrations may be sapping energy from LEDs.

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Caltech's 2017 Dow-SISCA Grand Prize winners

November 17, 2017

Meet Caltech's 2017 Dow-SISCA Winners!


Congratulations to our 2017 Dow-Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award winners! Grand Prize Winners: Wen-Hui (Sophia) Cheng & Matthias Richter for their breakthrough device for splitting water with sunlight to make hydrogen fuel with remarkable efficiency! AND Runner Ups: Julian West, Bryan Hunter, Anthony Chen & David Schuman for development of a C–H oxidation process that is sustainable by design!

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Flow Logo

Fall 2017

FLOW Rocket Fund Sparks New University Startups

Five cleantech startups are powering towards commercial success, thanks to awards from the FLOW Rocket Fund grant program.

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Aditya Mohite

October 2, 2017

Aditya Mohite Honored with 2017 Resonate Award


Aditya Mohite announced winner of the 2017 Resonate Award for his research developing two-dimensional and thin-film materials for high-performance solar electricity generation.

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abstract ocean desal image

August 15, 2017

A More Efficient Way to Drink the Ocean


Increasingly, landlubbers with better access to the ocean than to sources of freshwater are also employing technology that enables them to drink water from the sea. And a pair of students in Caltech’s PhD program, Jinglin Huang and Cong Wang, are developing a way to improve that technology.

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Leaf Image from JCAP

August 3, 2017

Carbon Conversion


A new additive helps researchers more selectively convert CO2 to multicarbon fuels.

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report cover

July 20, 2017

Reducing Caltech's Carbon Footprint


The Institute makes significant gains in energy efficiency, water savings, and electric vehicle support.

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Research image: Scanning electron microscope image of calcite.
Credit: Adam Subhas/Caltech

July 17, 2017

Key to Speeding Up Carbon Sequestration Discovered


Scientists at Caltech and USC identify how to encourage the chemical reaction by which carbon dioxide is locked away in the ocean.

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Research image: scanning ultrafast electron microscopy shows the diffusion of electrons in silicon over a period of picosconds

June 15, 2017

"Hot" Electrons Move Faster Than Expected


New study opens the door to solid-state devices that use excited electrons. A team led by Caltech's Marco Bernardi and the late Ahmed Zewail documented the electrons' motion using microscopes that captured images with a shutter speed of a trillionth of a second at a nanometer-scale spatial resolution. Their findings appear in a study published in Nature Communications on May 11.

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Process Diagram

June 12, 2017

Researchers Find a Surprise Just Beneath the Surface in Carbon Dioxide Experiment


In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers report the mechanics behind an early key step in artificially activating CO2 so that it can rearrange itself to become the liquid fuel ethanol.

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Tractor Image

May 25, 2017

Nitrogen Fixation Research Could Shed Light on Biological Mystery


New Process Could Make Fertilizer Production More Sustainable: Inspired by a natural process found in certain bacteria, a team of Caltech researchers is inching closer to a new method for producing fertilizer that could some day hold benefits for farmers—particularly in the developing world—while also shedding light on a biological mystery.

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Flow Logo

May 22, 2017

Meet FLOW's 2017 Cleantech UP Winners!


The University of Houston’s Vescence won the US Department of Energy sponsored $50,000 Cleantech UP prize at our 2017 First Look West (FLOW) competition. Vescence’s patented water repellant coating minimizes contaminant buildup on solar panels, significantly improving electrical output while reducing maintenance costs.

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 Congressman Adam Schiff, Francesca Hopkins of UC Riverside

April 26, 2017

Climate Change Panel Strikes Hopeful Note


On Friday, April 21—the evening before Earth Day—Congressman Adam Schiff hosted a climate change panel discussion at Caltech. Schiff and each of the three panelists gave an opening statement, then took questions from an audience of nearly 800 constituents and local community members.

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Marchers

April 24, 2017

A March for Science


More than a thousand people—both from across Caltech and from various surrounding communities—gathered on Beckman Lawn on Saturday, April 22 before marching together through Pasadena in celebration of science.

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Adam Wierman

April 11, 2017

How Clean is the Cloud?


Computing "in the cloud" may sound ephemeral, but the cloud actually has a physical presence in the form of data centers filled with thousands of servers. The power infrastructure needed to run these servers is enormous. In fact, at this point in time, data centers lead to more carbon emissions than the airline industry.

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Molecule

April 4, 2017

'Detergent' Molecules May Be Driving Fluctuations in Atmospheric Methane Concentrations


New study suggests hydroxyl radicals may be behind unexplained recent increase in methane levels.

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John Gregoire

March 6, 2017

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future


A new materials discovery approach puts solar fuels on the fast track to commercial viability.

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graphic

February 24, 2017

Getting Rid of the Last Bits of Sulfur in Fuel


Scientists led by a team at Caltech have developed a new method for potentially removing nearly all sulfur compounds from gas and diesel fuel.

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A methane plume spotted in the Four Corners region by the TOPDOWN campaign

January 19, 2017

Tools and Techniques to Track and Study Methane


How do you find, track, and quantify the release of a colorless and odorless gas?

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Flow Competition Participants

January 6, 2017

FLOW’s Rocket Fund Wins Grant and Launches Cleantech 2 Edtech


Our FLOW Rocket Fund was named an LA 2050 Grants Challenge winner! The Fund will use the $100,000 award to launch Cleantech 2 Edtech. This initiative will partner promising clean energy and water technologies developed by young cleantech companies with the LAUSD and LADWP to pilot them.

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