Caltech Nanofabrication Group

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Research Areas

  • Microfluidics/Biomedical

    FluidicsOur ability to fabricate devices on the scale of biological structures and processes opens up a new world of opportunities for interdisciplinary research and biomedical technology.  We are actively developing implantable glucose and ion sensors. These integrated devices contain all necessary power, sensor, and communications systems, and with dimensions around 100um, these represent a new era of personalized medicine, where instant diagnosis and individualized drug administration become possible with continuous blood monitoring. Additionally, these characteristics are ideal for in vivo neural probes, enabling long-term monitoring of complex neural circuits at greatly enhanced resolution, critical for minimizing the risks of neuro surgery while providing a deeper understanding of brain function.  We're also leveraging our expertise in designing microfluidic systems, electronic and optical sensors to develop low-cost, integrated PCR devices in order to provide widely available disease diagnostics to developing nations, targeting areas where proper facilities and trained personel might not otherwise be accessible.

  • Nanofabrication

    Continually pushing the boundaries of science and technology requires an endless search for novel and high utility nanofabrication techniques.  Through the advanced lithography, masking, etching, and processing techniques we have developed, we regularly produce structures with lateral dimensions as small as 2nm, fabricate devices exhibiting aspect ratios of 60:1, and explore new device geometries using sophisticated 3-dimensional etch control.  We have exploited these techniques to create sub-10nm diameter silicon structures capable of light emission, lithographically-defined quantum dots for tunable resonant tunneling devices, and suspended membranes with nanometer scale pores for biological sensing and characterization.  Our research laboratory is built around producing such nanostructures and applying them to new optoelectronic, biomedical, and quantum-confined electronic devices, enabling higher speeds, greater efficiencies, as well as scientific investigation and technological integration in ways previously unachievable.

  • Nanophotonics

    Asymmetric light propagationBy manipulating materials at dimensions smaller than the wavelength of light, we reveal the truly amazing interaction between photons and matter when optical fields are confined to their ultimate limits.  The drive to shrink optical components has led to complete benchtop networks becoming incorporated on a single chip, communication systems with lower power and faster speeds, integrated spectroscopy and sensing platforms and fundamental scientific testbeds.  Having developed the first vertical cavity laser, the first photonic crystal laser, the first demonstration of strong coupling in the solid state as well electro-optic modulators with record low drive voltages and all-optical modulators operating at THz speeds, we continue to pioneer the next generation of nanophotonic devices.  Our current research aims to shrink laser dimensions and lower threshold powers even further, exploit nanoscale dimensions to enable light emission from silicon, produce optical sensors with enhanced sensitivity, and further explore cavity QED in the solid state.



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