Caltech Nanofabrication Group

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Axel Scherer

Personal Information:

Position: Faculty Scherer, Axel
Phone: 626.627.6785
Location: 216 Powell Booth

Axel Scherer is the Neches professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics at Caltech, as well as the Director of the Caltech Global Health Initiative. His research focuses on the design and microfabrication of optical, magnetic and fluidic devices. In the 1980s, Axel Scherer pioneered the development of the first monolithic vertical cavity lasers (VCSELs) that are now widely used in data communications systems. More recently, Professor Scherer’s group developed electromagnetic design tools and fabrication techniques for the definition of lithographically integrated optical devices. This led to pioneering work in photonic bandgap lasers, silicon photonic circuits, as well as tunable microfluidic dye lasers, and resulted in new classes of integrated optics. The first demonstration of strong coupling between single quantum dots and optical nanocavities recently emerged from a collaboration between Axel Scherer and Hyatt Gibbs. Collaborations with Larry Dalton (University of Washington) resulted in some of the world’s smallest and fastest light  modulators. Professor Scherer also fabricated some of the first surface Plasmon enhanced high brightness light emitting diodes. His group miniaturized fluidic systems and demonstrated the first multi-layer replication molded fluidic chips, with thousands of valves creating microfluidic “laboratories” and single cell analysis systems.  Axel Scherer has co-founded several companies in the area of silicon photonics and biomedical diagnostics, and leads a productive group focused on the miniaturization and integration of fluidic, optical, electronic and magnetic devices for applications in biotechnology.

Professor Scherer has co-authored over 300 publications and holds over 50 patents on the area of microfabrication and design of devices.


  • Jones, W. M., Lukin, D. & Scherer, A. (2017). Practical nanoscale field emission devices for integrated circuits. Applied Physics Letters, 110(26). [More] 
  • Zhao, H., Fegadolli, W., Yu, J., Zhang, Z., Ge, L., Scherer, A. et al. (2016). Metawaveguide for Asymmetric Interferometric Light-Light Switching. Physical Review Letters(117). [More] 
  • Jones, W. M., Lukin, D. & Scherer, A. (2016). Ultra-low turn-on field emission devices characterized at atmospheric pressures and high temperatures. 2016 29th International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference (IVNC), 1, 1-2. [More] 
  • Xu, Y.-L., Fegadolli, W., Gan, L., Lu, M.-H., Liu, X.-P., Li, Z.-Y. et al. (2016). Experimental realization of Bloch oscillations in a parity-time synthetic silicon photonic lattice. Nature Communications, 7. [More] 
  • Scherer, A. (2015). A multiplex PCR assay for the simultaneous detection of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Trichomonas vaginalis”. Experimental and Molecular Pathology, 98(2), 214. [More] 


Administrative and Financial Contact

Kate Finigan
MC 200-79, Caltech
1200 E California Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91125

Office:  215 Powell-Booth
Phone:  626.395.4585
Fax: 626.577.8442