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Michael Roukes

Michael L. Roukes
Frank J. Roshek Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering

Research activities are currently focused on developing advanced nanodevices, engineering them into complex systems, and using them to enable fundamental problems in physics, neuroscience and proteomics. A continuing thread in theoretical and experimental investigations focuses on fundamental properties of nanomechanical systems.

Roukes was founding Director of Caltech's Kavli Nanoscience Institute from 2003-2006, Co-Director from 2008-2013, and has recently stepped down to focus full-time, on collaborative research in neuroscience, nanoscience, and biotechnology.

Professor Roukes completed undergraduate majors in both physics and chemistry at the University of California Santa Cruz, and thereafter earned a Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University, focusing upon electron transport in microstructures at ultralow temperatures. Subsequently, he joined Bell Communications Research as a Member of Technical Staff / Principal Investigator in the (then-new) Quantum Structures Research Group, where he carried out some of the earliest explorations of the physics of nanoelectronic devices. In 1992 he joined the tenured faculty at the California Institute of Technology, where he built nanofabrication facilities and has established a large nanoscience research group, now heavily involved in cross-disciplinary collaborations. Roukes' scientific interests range from fundamental science to applied biotechnology —with a unifying theme centered upon development, application, and very-large-scale-integration of complex nanostructures. He has published and written extensively on nanoscience and nanotechnology, has lectured at most major research centers world-wide, and is active on many national and international committees that promote this field.

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Current Projects

Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS): nonlinear, non-equilibrium and quantum physics with NEMS; novel NEMS device concepts, design, fabrication, and exploration; very-large-scale integration of NEMS, and applications in fundamental biological research and bioengineering.

NEMS arrays for single-molecule analysis, including mass spectrometry, inertial imaging, single-molecule calorimetry and action spectroscopy.

Multiphysical nanosystems for highly-multiplexed neurophysiological measurement, recording, and stimulation

Neurotech Alliance (with multiple institutions)

Alliance for Nanosystems VLSI (very-large-scale integration)
with CEA/Leti-MINATEC, Grenoble, France


Contact Information

e-mail: roukes at
Office: 131 Bridge Annex
GPS: 34.136543, -118.126166

Roukes Group Admin:
Nancy Rappard, nrappard at, +1 (626) 395-2933

Mailing Address:
California Institute of Technology
, 1200 E. California Blvd, MC149-33, Pasadena, CA 91125 USA


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