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Andrea Martin Armani

Ray Irani Chair in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and Chemistry


  • Doctoral Degree, Physics, California Institute of Technology
  • Master's Degree, Physics, California Institute of Technology
  • Bachelor's Degree, Physics, University of Chicago


Prof. Armani received her B.A. in the Physics from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Caltech. She has received numerous awards, including the ONR Young Investigator and the PECASE, and she was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She is currently the Director of the Northrop Grumman Institute for Optical Nanomaterials and Nanophotonics. The over-arching mission of her research is to develop novel nonlinear materials and integrated optical devices that can be used in portable disease diagnostics and telecommunications.  These efforts include a wide range of topics including materials synthesis, integrated optics and instrument development, and computational modeling. In the materials synthesis area, we use a range of deposition and growth methods, including polymerization reactions (grafting to/from) and VLS growth, to create new optically active and responsive materials.  Leveraging these materials, new integrated photonics devices, such as waveguides and lasers, are invented. These devices are used in both fundamental science and biodetection applications. A core focus is on developing low-cost, portable instruments for both diagnostics and prognostics for a wide range of diseases. As a complementary effort to our experimental work, we perform a significant amount of FEM and FDTD modeling. 

Research Summary

Research in the Armani Lab combines optics and material synthesis to enable biological and chemical detection as well as therapeutic development. Current projects in photonics are focused on integrating optical components on silicon for telecommunications and biosensing applications. Active bio/chem sensor related projects include the development of a portable optical sensor for water monitoring, the design and demonstration of a new instrument with improved temporal resolution (sub-microsecond), and the detection of cell signaling. Material synthesis and growth is focused on optically active dielectric materials, functional polymer materials and functional nanomaterial growth, specifically development of conformal growth techniques. Additionally, finite element (FEM), finite difference time domain (FDTD) and Molecular Dynamics simulations are performed to complement the experimental efforts.


  • 2014 Popular Science Brilliant 10
  • 2013 Grainger Foundation Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering
  • 2012 SPIE SPIE Senior Member
  • 2011 IEEE IEEE Senior Member
  • 2011 USC Viterbi Junior Research Award
  • 2010 White House Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
  • 2010 National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award
  • 2010 USC USC Mellon Mentoring Award for Undergraduates
  • 2010 Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Young Investigator Award
  • 2009 SPIE SPIE Visiting Lecturer
  • 2009 MIT Technology Review TR 35 Top 35 Innovators under 35
  • 2009 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award
  • 2008 Society of Photo-Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Young Investigator Award
  • 2007 California Institute of Technology Graduate Dean's Award for Community Service
  • 2006 SPIE Optomechatronics Best Student Paper
  • 2006 Luce Foundation Clare Boothe Luce Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2003 California Institute of Technology First Place Poster
  • 2001 Sigma Xi Sigma Xi award for Excellence in Research
  • Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • MCB 495
  • Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience
  • 1002 West Childs Way
  • USC Mail Code: 3501
Contact Information
  • (213) 740-4428