Physics - Kartalov - Main Content Intro

Advanced War Fighter Capabilities

Professor KartalovProfessor Emil Kartalov

Professor of Physics
Phone: (831) 656-2125  | Email:
Website: Advanced Warfighter Technologies Laboratory

My lab focuses on technologies aimed at the improvement of a warfighter's combat capabilities and survivability, as well as technologies to advance unmanned underwater systems.



Available thesis topics

Available Thesis Topics

Thesis topics are available in the research areas listed below. In addition, we are happy to consider student-initiated thesis topics as well.

Physics - Kartalov - Research Areas

Research Areas

Please visit my Advanced Warfighter Technologies Laboratory website for complete information.

NPS Student Researchers


The basic value proposition of artificial muscles is that in principle they can be stronger, more energy-efficient, more compact, lighter, less dense, and more morphologically flexible than traditional actuators. They may also be able to output a far larger force-to-weight ratio, making them particularly suitable for smaller vehicles, wearables, and unmanned systems.


NPS Student Researchers


The future of naval operations is heavily dependent on the advent of effective drone fleets of surface and underwater capability. Such fleets would require frequent and local recharging, which poses a critical logistics problem. We are working on solving that problem through the development of renewable power sources using benthic bacteria. These sources are biofuel cells that harness the capability of such bacteria to output power as part of their life processes.


NPS Student Researchers


Hypothermia is a major health hazard for divers, as humans lose heat to water at least 5 times faster than to air. Hypothermia can lead to unconsciousness, organ damage, and eventually death. Divers typically wear bubbled neoprene wetsuits to protect themselves from these harsh conditions. However, wetsuits have their limitations. Air bubbles within the neoprene shrink with depth under the increasing ambient pressure, which degrades the suit’s thermal protection. Thicker neoprene is warmer but is less flexible and fatigues the diver faster. We have come up with and are testing an alternative solution based on incompressible hollow microspheres embedded in carrier polymer, with the resulting suits outperforming neoprene in both thermal protection and ergonomics.

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Current Students and Staff

Current Students:
Derek Eaton
James Lagos-Antonakos
Analise Marshall
Gerard Mirville
Garrett Sabesky
Maxwell Terry

Current Staff:
Jeffrey Catterlin
Michael Krause

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Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Clark, C., Waldron, A., Sabesky G., Catterlin, J., Kartalov, E., Ergonomic Segmented Composite Diving Suit with Superior Thermal Protection and Enhanced Manufacturability through Chocobar Technique, Journal of Ergonomics, 13(3), 1000343, 2023.
  2. Coltelli, M.A., Keeven J.M.,  Leckie J.M., Catterlin, J.K., Sadagic, A., Kartalov, E.P. , Output Force Density Saturation in COMSOL Simulations of Biomimetic Artificial Muscles Applied Sciences, 13: 9286, 2023.
  3. Hornik, T., Kempa, J., Catterlin, J., Kartalov, E., A qualitative experimental proof of principle of self-assembly in 3D printed microchannels towards embedded wiring in biofuel cells. Micromachines 14(807), 2023.
  4. Hornik, T., Kempa, J., Catterlin, J., Kartalov, E. A solution to the clearance problem of sacrificial material in 3D printing of microfluidic devices. Micromachines, 14(16), 2022.
  5. Meligkaris, K., Sabesky, G., Catterlin, J., Kartalov, E.P. Neutrally buoyant ergonomic segmented cast composite diving suit with depth-independent thermal protection. J of Ergonomics, 12(6):1000322, 2022.
  6. Coltelli, M.A., Kartalov, E.P. Scalable microfluidic double-helix weave architecture for wiring of microcapacitor arrays in 3D-printable biomimetic artificial muscles. Sensors & Actuators A 340:113543, 2022.
  7. Demers A, Martin S, Kartalov EP. Segmented composite diving suit offers superior thermal insulation and improved ergonomics compared to thick neoprene suits. Diving & Hyperbaric Medicine, Sept 2021.
  8. Nguyen T., Arias-Thode M., Grbovic D., Kartalov E.: Output power optimization of benthic bacteria biofuel cells by microfluidic chip, Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 9(4),105659, 2021.
  9. Coltelli, M.A., Catterlin, J., Scherer, A., Kartalov, E.: Simulations of 3D-Printable Biomimetic Artificial Muscles Based on Microfluidic Microcapacitors for Exoskeletal Actuation and Stealthy Underwater Propulsion, Sensors & Actuators A 325:112700, 2021.
  10. Brown, J., Oldenkamp, J., Gamache, R., Grbovic, D., Kartalov, E.P.: Hollow-microsphere composite offers depth-independent superior thermal insulation for diver suits, Mat. Res. Express, 6:055314, 2019.
  11. Raub, C., Lee, C., Shibata, D., Taylor, C., Kartalov, E.: HistoMosaic detecting G12V KRAS mutation across colorectal cancer tissue slices through in situ PCR, Anal.Chem., 88:5, 2792-2798, 2016.
  12. Raub, C., Lee, C., Kartalov, E.: Sequestration of bacteria from whole blood by optimized microfluidic cross-flow filtration for rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Sensors & Actuators B Chemical, 210: 120-123, 2015.
  13. Rajagopal, A., Scherer, A., Homyk, A., Kartalov, E.P.: Supercolor Coding Methods for Large-Scale Multiplexing of Biochemical Assays. Anal. Chem., 85(16): 7629-7636, 2013.
  14. Chang, H.-J., Ye W., Kartalov, E.P.: Quantitative modeling of the behavior of microfluidic autoregulatory devices. Lab Chip, 12 (10): 1890-1896, 2012.
  15. Maltezos, G., Lee, J., Rajagopal, A., Scholten, K., Kartalov, E.P., Scherer, A.: Microfluidic Blood Filtration Device. Biomed Microdevices, 13:143-146, 2011.
  16. Maltezos, G., Chantratita, W., Kartalov, E.P., Gomez, A., Gomez, F., Scherer, A.: An Inexpensive Portable Real-Time PCR System for Rapid Identification of Avian Influenza and Other Viruses. J In-Vitro Diagnostic Technology, 16 (7): 36-42, 2010.
  17. Liu, J., Chen, Y., Taylor, C.R., Scherer, A., Kartalov, E.P.: Microfluidic Diode and Rectifier Produce Complex Non-Linear Behaviors with Newtonian Fluids. J Appl Phys, 106:114311, 2010.
  18. Chang, H.J., Kim S.H., Lee, Y.H., Kartalov, E.P., Scherer, A.: A photonic-crystal optical antenna for extremely large local field enhancement. Optics Express, 18(23): 24163-24177, 2009.
  19. Lin, D.H., Taylor, C.R., Anderson, W.F., Scherer, A., Kartalov, E.P.: Internally calibrated quantification of VEGF in human plasma by fluorescence immunoassays in disposable elastomeric microfluidic devices. J Chromatogr B, 878: 258-263, 2009.
  20. Kartalov, E.P., Lin, D.H., Lee, D.T., Anderson, W.F., Taylor, C.R., Scherer, A.: Internally Calibrated Quantitations of Protein Analytes in Human Serum by Fluorescence Immunoassays in Disposable Elastomeric Microfluidic Devices. Electrophoresis, 29: 5010-5016, 2008.
  21. Kartalov, E.P., Maltezos, G., Taylor, C.R., Scherer, A., Anderson, W.F.: Electrical microfluidic pressure gauge for elastomer MEMS. J Appl Phys, 102:084909, 2007.
  22. Kartalov, E.P., Scherer, A., Quake, S.R., Taylor, C.R., Anderson, W.F.: Experimentally-validated quantitative linear model for the device physics of elastomer microfluidic valves. J Appl Phys, 101: 064505, 2007.
  23. Gross, P.G., Kartalov, E.P., Scherer, A., Weiner, L.P.: Applications of microfluidics for neuronal studies. J. of the Neurological Sciences, 252:135-143, 2007.
  24. Kartalov, E.P., Walker, C., Taylor, C.R., Scherer, A., Anderson, W.F.: Microfluidic Vias Enable Nested Bioarrays and Autoregulatory Devices in Newtonian Fluids. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 103(33):12280-12284, 2006.
  25. Kartalov, E.P., Anderson, W.F., and Scherer, A.: The Analytical Approach to PDMS Microfluidic Technology and Its Biological Applications. J. Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, 6(8): 2265-2277, 2006.
  26. Kartalov, E.P.: Multiplexed Microfluidic Immunoassays for Point-of-Care Diagnostics. J. In-Vitro Diagnostics Technology, Sept 2006.
  27. Kartalov, E.P., Zhong, J., Scherer, A., Quake, S., Taylor, C. Anderson, W. F.: High-Throughput Multi-Antigen Microfluidic Fluorescence Immunoassays. BioTechniques 40(1): 85-90, 2006.
  28. Gross, P.G., Weiner, L.P., Kartalov, E.P., Scherer, A.: Microfluidic techniques for studying the nervous system. Crit. Rev. Neurobiol. 17 (3-4): 119-144, 2005.
  29. Quake, S.: Microfluidic device reads up to four consecutive base pairs in DNA sequencing-by-synthesis. Nucleic Acids Research 32: 2873-2879, 2004.
  30. Braslavsky, I., Hebert, B., Kartalov, E. Quake, S.R.: Sequence information can be obtained from single DNA molecules. Proc. Nat'l Acad. Sci. USA 100: 3960-3964, 2003.
  31. Kartalov, E.P., Unger, M.A. Quake, S.R.: Polyelectrolyte Surface Interface for Single-Molecule Fluorescence Studies of DNA Polymerase. BioTechniques 34:505-510, 2003.
  32. Chiu, C.-S., Kartalov, E., Unger, M., Quake, S., Lester, H.: Single molecule measurements calibrate green fluorescent protein surface densities on transparent beads for use with ‘knock-in’ animals and other expression systems. J of Neurosci Meth 185:55-63, 2001.
  33. Unger, M.A., Kartalov, E.P., Chiu, C.-S., Lester, H.A., Quake, S.R.: Single-Molecule Fluorescence Observed with Mercury Lamp Illumination. BioTechniques 27: 1008-1014, 1999.

Issued Patents

  1. US 11,635,064 “Microfluidic-based muscles and method of formation”, 2023.
  2. US 11,563,227 “Microfluidic microbacterial fuel cell chips and related optimization methods”, 2023.
  3. US 11,492,664 “Nucleic acid reactions and related methods and compositions”, 2022.
  4. US 11,260,943 “Implantable micro-sensor to quantify dissolved inert gas”, 2022.
  5. US 11,060,511 “Microfluidic-based muscles and method of formation”, 2021.
  6. US 10,889,863 “FRET-based analytes detection and related methods and systems”, 2021.
  7. US 10,770,170 “Signal encoding and decoding in multiplexed biochemical assays”, 2020.
  8. US 10,457,937 “Methods and devices for micro-isolation, extraction, and/or analysis of microscale components in an array”, 2019.
  9. US 10,352,915 “Systems and methods for evaluating potentially irradiated objects using Oxygen-17 detection”, 2019.
  10. US 10,174,313 “Methods and devices for micro-isolation, extraction, and/or analysis of microscale components in an array”, 2019.
  11. US 10,077,475 “FRET-based analytes detection and related methods and systems”, 2018.
  12. US 10,068,051 “Signal encoding and decoding in multiplexed biochemical assays”, 2018.
  13. US 10,066,263 “Nucleic acid reactions and related methods and components”, 2018.
  14. US 9,920,315 “Methods and devices for micro-isolation, extraction, and/or analysis of microscale components in an array”, 2018.
  15. US 9,340,765 “Microfluidic Chemistat”, 2016.
  16. US 9,212,994 “Fluorescence Detector, Filter Device, and Related Methods” 2015.
  17. US 9,149,805 “Microfluidic fluid separator and related methods” 2015.
  18. US 9,037,209 “Bio-diagnostic testing system and methods” 2015.
  19. US 9,005,987 “Methods for quantitative target detection and related devices and systems” 2015.
  20. US 8,889,416 “Methods and Devices for Micro-Isolation, Extraction, and/or Analysis of Microscale Components” 2014.
  21. US 8,838,394 “Signal Encoding and Decoding in Multiplexed Biochemical Assays” 2014.
  22. US 8,480,978 “Microfluidic Fluid Separator and Related Methods” 2013.
  23. US 8,426,159 “Microfluidic Chemostat” 2013.
  24. US 8,424,560 “Multi-Valve Microfluidic Devices and Methods” 2013.
  25. US 8,361,738 “Methods for Quantitative Target Detection and Related Devices and Systems” 2013.
  26. US 8,137,626 “Fluorescence Detector, Filter Device, and Related Methods” 2012.
  27. US 8,017,353 “Microfluidic Chemostat” 2011.
  28. US 7,992,587  ”Microfluidic Autoregulator Devices and Arrays for Operation with Newtonian Fluids” 2011.
  29. US 7,611,673 “PDMS Microfluidic components and methods of operation of the same” 2009.
  30. US 7,501,245 “Methods and apparatus for analyzing polynucleotide sequences” 2009.
  31. US 7,407,799 “Microfluidic Chemostat” 2008.
  32. US 7,297,518 “Methods and apparatus for analyzing polynucleotide sequences by asynchronous base extension” 2007.