Caltech Nanofabrication Group

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Scherer, Axel

Personal Information:

Position: Faculty Scherer, Axel
Phone: x4996
Location: 203 Sloan Annex

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.


  • 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] 
  • Fegadolli, W., Pavarelli, N., O’Brien, P., Njoroge., S., Almeida, V. R. & Scherer, A. (2015). Thermally controllable silicon photonic crystal nanobeam cavity without surface cladding for sensing applications. ACS Photonics. [More] 
  • Fegadolli, W., Feng, L., Mujeeb-U-Rahman, M., Oliveira, J. E., de Almeida, V. R. & Scherer, A. (2014). Experimental demonstration of a reconfigurable silicon thermo-optical device based on spectral tuning of ring resonators for optical signal processing. Optics Express, 22(03), 3425-3431. [More] 
  • Walavalkar, S., Latawiec, P., Homyk, A. & Scherer, A. (2014). Scalable Method for the Fabrication and Testing of Glass-Filled, Three-Dimensionally Sculpted Extraordinary Transmission Apertures. Nano Letters, Advanced Online. [More] 
  • Chen, Y., Fegadolli, W., Jones, W. M., Scherer, A. & Li, M. (2014). Ultrasensitive Gas-Phase Chemical Sensing Based on Functionalized Photonic Crystal Nanobeam Cavities. ACS Nano, Advanced Online. [More] 


Administrative and Financial Contact

Kate Finigan
MC 200-36, Caltech
1200 E California Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91125

Office:  212 Sloan Annex
Phone:  626.395.4585
Fax: 626.577.8442