Michael Roukes

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Michael Roukes
TEDxCaltech Michael Roukes.jpg
Michael Roukes at TEDxCaltech, 1/14/11
Nationality United States
Fields Physics, Applied Physics, Bioengineering
Institutions California Institute of Technology
Alma mater Cornell University
Known for nanoscience, nanoelectromechanical systems, nanobiotechnology

Michael Lee Roukes is an American experimental physicist, nanoscientist, and the Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Roukes earned B.A. degrees in physics and chemistry (double majors) in 1978 at University of California, Santa Cruz, with highest honors in both majors, he received his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 1985. His graduate advisor at Cornell was Nobel Laureate, Robert Coleman Richardson. Roukes’ thesis research at Cornell elucidated the electron-phonon bottleneck at ultra low temperatures;[1] the hot electron effect that is now recapitulated in texts on solid state transport physics. Stated in simplest terms, when electrons carry current in normal conductors, they heat up. At low temperatures and, now, in nanoscale devices at ordinary temperatures, their ability to dissipate this heat can be significantly impaired. This has generic implications for the operation of powered nanodevices.

After earning his Ph.D., Roukes spent seven years as a Member of Technical Staff / Principal Investigator in the Quantum Structures Research group at Bell Communications Research in New Jersey, focusing on mesoscopic physics of electron transport in nanostructures. Roukes left Bellcore to become a tenured Associate Professor of Physics at Caltech in 1992, rising to full professorship in 1995, and subsequently became Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering in 2000. Upon moving to Caltech, his principal research focus changed to nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS).[2] As the earliest pioneer in this field, DARPA engaged Roukes to organize the first international workshop on NEMS in 1999,[3] followed by a large international conference and school on nanoscale and molecular mechanics in 2002.[4] The many alumni from his group continue to advance this field at major universities in the U.S. and abroad.[5] Roukes' other research efforts at Caltech have focused on thermal properties of nanostructures, semiconductor spintronics, and, more recently, nanobiotechnology.

In 2002 Roukes was named the founding Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech. After stepping down between 2006–2008, to focus on co-founding the international Alliance for Nanosystems VLSI (very large scale integration) and to pursue collaborative research on NEMS VLSI in connection with a Chaire d’Excellence in Nanoscience in Grenoble (with scientists at CEA/LETI-Minatec), Roukes returned as co-Director of the KNI in 2008.

Roukes was named a recipient of a National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award in 2010. In 2012 he was named Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the Republic of France.[6]

Among his groups' principal achievements at Bell were observation of quenching of the Hall effect in a quasi-one-dimensional wire,[7] elucidation of electron-boundary scattering in quantum wires,[8] invention of "anti"-dots[9] and elucidation of commensurability effects in this system,[10] first elucidation of chaotic transport in mesoscopic conductor,[11] and direct measurement of the transmission matrix for a mesoscopic conductor.[12] Among his groups' principal achievements at Caltech are development of the first nanoelectromechanical systems,[13] measurement of the quantum of thermal conductance,[14] first attainment of attogram mass resolution with a NEMS resonator,[15] first measurement of nanodevice motion at microwave frequencies,[16] discovery of the giant planar Hall effect in semiconducting ferromagnets,[17] observation and control of a single domain wall in a ferromagnetic semiconducting wire,[18] first demonstration of zeptogram-scale mass sensing,[19] first coupling of a qubit to a NEMS resonator,[20] and first demonstration of nanomechanical mass spectrometry of single protein molecules.[21] Roukes has authored or co-authored highly cited general interest articles on nanophysics,[22] nanoelectromechanical systems,[23][24] spintronics,[25] and quantum electromechanics.[26]

Roukes and his collaborators have accrued 44 patents in his fields of research.

An electron micrograph of the quantum of thermal conductance device, taken by postdoc Keith Schwab and colorized by Roukes, was acquired for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in 2008.[27]

Roukes organized TEDxCaltech: Feynman’s Vision - The Next 50 Years, held on January 14, 2011, which celebrated the genius of Caltech physicist Richard Feynman in a series of forward-looking talks in the TED (conference) format. Subsequently, he organized TEDxCaltech: The Brain, which was held on January 19, 2013 at Caltech. Talks from these events can be found online.

In 2011, Roukes was one of the six scientists first advocating, to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), a large-scale U.S. national neuroscience project to accelerate technology for functional connectomics.[28] The group’s concept of a Brain Activity Map project [29][30] ultimately led to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, launched in 2013.[31]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Roukes, M.L., et al., Hot electrons and energy transport in metals at mK temperatures (1985) Phys. Rev. Lett. 55, 422-425
  2. ^ John Travis, Building Bridges to the Nanoworld (1994) Science 263, 1702-1703
  3. ^ (1st) DARPA Workshop on Nanoelectromechanical Systems, San Diego, CA, 22–23 April 1999.
  4. ^ 1st International Conference and School on Nanoscale/Molecular Mechanics (n/m^2), Maui, Hawaii, May 12–17, 2002 (funded by DARPA).
  5. ^ Adrian Cho, Researchers Race to Put the Quantum in Mechanics (2003) Science 299, 36-37
  6. ^ http://consulfrance-losangeles.org/spip.php?article2111
  7. ^ Roukes, M.L. et al., Quenching Of The Hall-Effect In A One-Dimensional Wire (1987) Phys. Rev. Lett. 59, 3011-3014
  8. ^ Thornton, T.J., Roukes, M.L., Scherer, A., & Vandegaag, B.P., Boundary Scattering In Quantum Wires (1989) Phys. Rev. Lett. 63, 2128-2131
  9. ^ Roukes, M.L & Scherer, A., Bull. Am. Phys. Soc. 34, 622(1989)
  10. ^ Weiss, D., Roukes, M.L. Menschig, A., Grambow, P, von Klitzing, K. & Weimann, G. , Electron Pinball And Commensurate Orbits In A Periodic Array Of Scatterers. (1991) Phys. Rev. Lett. 66, 2790-2793
  11. ^ Roukes, M.L. & Alerhand, O.L., Mesoscopic Junctions, Random Scattering, And Strange Repellers (1990) Phys. Rev. Lett. 65, 1651-1654
  12. ^ Shepard, K.L., Roukes, M.L., & Vandergaag, B.P., Direct Measurement Of The Transmission Matrix Of A Mesoscopic Conductor (1992) Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 2660-2663
  13. ^ Cleland, A.N. & Roukes, M.L., Fabrication of high frequency nanometer scale mechanical resonators from bulk Si crystals. (1996) Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2653-2655
  14. ^ Schwab, K., Henriksen, E.A., Worlock, J.M., & Roukes, M.L., Measurement of the quantum of thermal conductance (2000) Nature 404, 974-977
  15. ^ Roukes, M.L. & Ekinci, K.L, Apparatus and method for ultrasensitive nanoelectromechanical mass detection, U.S. Provisional Patent Application serial No. 60/288,741 filed on May 4, 2001; awarded as United States Patent 6,722,200, April 20, 2004
  16. ^ Huang, X.M.H., Zorman, C.A., Mehregany, M., & Roukes, M.L. (2003) Nanodevice motion at microwave frequencies, Nature 421, 496-496
  17. ^ Tang, H.X., Kawakami, R.K., Awschalom, D.D., & Roukes, M.L., Giant planar Hall effect in epitaxial (Ga,Mn)As devices (2003) Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 107201
  18. ^ Tang, H.X., Masmanidis, S., Kawakami, R.K., Awschalom, D.D., & Roukes, M.L., Negative intrinsic resistivity of an individual domain wall in epitaxial (Ga,Mn)As microdevices (2004) Nature 431, 52-56
  19. ^ Yang, Y.T., Callegari, C., Feng, X.L., Ekinci, K.L., & Roukes, M.L., Zeptogram-scale nanomechanical mass sensing (2009) Nano Letters 6, 583-586 (2006).
  20. ^ LaHaye, M. D., Suh, J. , Echternach, P. M., Schwab, K. C., & Roukes, M. L., Nanomechanical measurements of a superconducting qubit (2009) Nature 459, 960-964
  21. ^ Naik, A. K. , Hanay, M. S. , Hiebert, W. K., Feng, X. L., & Roukes, M. L., Towards single-molecule nanomechanical mass spectrometry (2009) Nature Nanotechnology 4, 445-449
  22. ^ Roukes, M., Plenty of room indeed (2001) Scientific American 285, 48-54
  23. ^ Roukes, M., Nanoelectromechanical systems face the future. (2001) Physics World 14, 25-31
  24. ^ Ekinci, K.L. & Roukes, M.L., Nanoelectromechanical systems. (2005) Review of Scientific Instruments 76, 061101
  25. ^ Wolf, S.A. et al., Spintronics: A spin-based electronics vision for the future. (2001) Science 294, 1488-1495
  26. ^ Schwab, K.C. & Roukes, M.L., Putting mechanics into quantum mechanics. (2005) Physics Today 58, 36-42
  27. ^ Design and the elastic mind, by Paola Antonelli, Museum of Modern Art (2008, New York, N.Y.), p. 98
  28. ^ Johnson, Carolyn (April 5, 2013). "Local Scientists on Brain Mapping Dream Team Reflect on Challenges, Opportunity". Boston Globe. http://bo.st/1f2sy2c Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  29. ^ Alivisatos, A. Paul; Chun, Miyoung; Church, George M.; Greenspan, Ralph J.; Roukes, Michael L.; Yuste, Rafael (June 2012). "The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics". Neuron 74 (6): 970–974. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.06.006. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  30. ^ Alivisatos, A.P., Chun, M., Church, G.M., Deisseroth, K., Donoghue, J.P., Greenspan, R.J., McEuen, P.L., Roukes, M.L., Sejnowski, T.J., Weiss, P.S., and Yuste, R. (2013). The Brain Activity Map. Science. 339:1284-5.
  31. ^ Markoff, John (February 18, 2013). "Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain". New York Times. http://nyti.ms/18xelJn Retrieved February 18, 2013.