Current Graduate Fellows
Turbulent drag reduction for energy-efficient transport
Subrahmanyam Duvvuri is a PhD student in Aeronautics. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras with a BTech in Aerospace Engineering (2010). During his time at IIT, he experimented with quad-rotor based UAVs and later worked on turbulent jet flows for his thesis. His research focus at Caltech is on understanding the non-linear mechanisms in wall-bounded turbulent flows through a systems approach. The long-term goal of his work is to reduce skin friction drag on vehicles, particularly aircrafts and ships, by actively manipulating flow turbulence around their bodies, thereby improving their performance and energy efficiency.
Advisor: Beverley McKeon and John Doyle
Renewable Feedstocks for the Synthesis of Fuels and Chemicals
Yiyang is a graduate student in chemistry. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Peking University before coming to Caltech. His current research is focused on the production of fuels and chemicals from renewable resources. Specifically, he is interested in developing efficient and environmentally friendly methods for transforming fatty acids and carbon dioxide into important commodity chemicals that are traditionally produced from petroleum.
Advisor: Brian Stoltz and Bob Grubbs
Shape-adaptive Ultra-lightweight Solar Concentrators
Xin Ning is a PhD student in Aeronautics and a member of the Space Structures Laboratory at Caltech. Xin works on design of thin shell structures. Specifically, he is interested in using optimization techniques to improve the mechanical properties of shape-adaptive ultra-lightweight solar concentrators. Xin received his Bachelor of Engineering in Aircraft Design and Engineering from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2009. He received a Master of Science in Aeronautics from California Institute of Technology In 2010.
Advisor: Sergio Pellegrino
Nicholas has been awarded our fellowship for incoming first-year graduate students. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from MIT and will enroll at Caltech Fall 2012 in the Mechanical and Civil Engineering Department. As an undergraduate at MIT, Nick became interested in energy generation and storage. With the Device Research Lab, he researched superhydrophobic condensation on nanostructured surfaces. Engineered surfaces provide enhanced heat transfer performance that can increase the efficiency of power plants.
Critical Fluctuation Enhanced Thermoelectrics for Waste Heat Power Generation
David is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Physics. He received his B.S. in Physics from MIT. Before coming to Caltech, David worked at OSRAM Opto-Semiconductors developing ridge waveguide lasers. As a member of the Caltech Thermoelectrics group, David focuses on characterization of high temperature material transport properties. His Resnick project is to understand the mechanism by which phase transitions can lead to enhanced thermoelectric efficiencies and to apply that understanding for the
development of materials with record thermoelectric efficiency and low cost. If David's work is successful, his research will lead to ubiquitous integration of these materials into devices which can capture wasted heat and directly convert it into electricity.
Advisors: Jeff Snyder, Austin Minnich and Sossina Haile
Limiting Emission Angle for Increased Solar Cell Eﬃciency
Emily is a graduate student in physics. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in physics, where she worked on magnetic materials. After completing her undergraduate work, she joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory working in the Systems Analysis group. Her Resnick project focuses on the management of light in solar cells. Specifically, by reducing light emission from solar cells she hopes to achieve high efficiencies to make solar power more affordable.
Advisor: Harry Atwater
New Methods for the Understanding and Design of Polymer Electrolyte Systems for Improved Battery Technology
Michael is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a concentration on Applied Physical Science and a minor in Materials Science from UC Berkeley. As an undergraduate, Michael engaged in computational research and simulation through projects at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, the MolSim group at Berkeley, as well Merck & Co. His interest in theoretical methods and energy are combined in his current research, which is targeted toward developing computational methods for the design of enhanced electrolyte solvents in rechargeable batteries. His research aims to mitigate many of the safety hazards and performance issues that prevent the use of secondary batteries in high energy content applications, such as electric vehicles or large-scale energy storage.
Advisors: Thomas Miller and Zhen-Gang Wang
Electrospray Deposition of Fuel Cell Materials for Sustainable Electricity Generation
Rob is a graduate student in Materials Science. He studies catalysis in solid oxide fuel cells, which are the most efficient devices yet invented for converting fuel into electricity and electricity into fuel. He has a B.A. in public policy and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Before coming to Caltech he worked as a mechanical engineer, first at a fuel cell startup company, and then at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he led a 6-person team to mechanically design and space-qualify 3 novel composite antennas and a vibration-isolated heat exchanger panel. If his Resnick project is successful, the knowledge it provides will be invaluable in discovering new fuel cell catalysts, optimizing performance of existing catalysts, and ultimately, achieving commercial implementation of this promising technology.
Advisors: Sossina Haile and Konstantinos P. Giapis
Plasmonic Organic Photovoltaics Via Surface-Initiated Polymerization
with Recyclable Catalysts.
Raymond is a graduate student in Chemistry. He did his undergraduate work in Chemistry at Princeton, where he concentrated his research efforts on the surface modification of electrodes for organic electronic devices. His current research is towards the development of new architectures for polymer solar cells. The goal of this research is to reduce the cost of solar energy conversion, ultimately making solar more affordable.
Advisors: Bob Grubbs and Harry Atwater
New Distributed Controls to Expand the Grid Capacity for
Masoud is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering and a member of the Rigorous Systems Research Group (RSRG) at Caltech. Since June of 2010, he has also worked as a part-time researcher in the Advanced Technology division of Southern California Edison (SCE) on smart grid projects. Masoud received his B.S. degree from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His current research focus is on the exploitation of DC/AC inverters in the design of new control schemes for distribution circuits with high penetration of renewables. This research has the potential to enhance the efficiency of the grid, and also increase the amount of intermittent renewable energy that we use.
Advisors: Steven Low and Mani Chandy