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CalTech's new nanofocusing plasmonic waveguide

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a nanofocusing waveguide, a tiny passive plasmonic device which is capable of concentrating light onto a spot a few nanometers in size. In so doing, they have sidestepped the diffraction-limited nature of light, which normally prevents focusing light to a spot smaller than its own wavelength. This remarkable feat may lead to new optoelectronic applications in computing, communications, and imaging.  Read More

A smooth muscle cell, trapped between the fiber-optic spanner's two offset optical fibers ...

If you were a scientist looking at a cell with a microscope, what would you do if you wanted get a look at the far side of that cell? You could try reaching in with a very fine-tipped pair of tweezers, but ... you’d probably be better off using something known as a fiber-optic spanner.  Read More

Designer Emily Brooke with her BLAZE bicycle light

When we first came across Emily Brooke's BLAZE, a bicycle attachment that projects a cycle lane symbol on the road ahead of the cyclist, it was little more than a concept. That was in June of last year. Since then, Brooke's launched her own company, developed working prototypes, and taken to Kickstarter to fund fabrication of the first batch.  Read More

Team of robots decoating a cargo plane

If you think stripping paint off an end table can be a messy, time consuming job, imagine removing paint and other coatings from an aircraft like the C-130 transport plane. Tasked with developing a robotic system that would take such a chore out of the hands of maintenance personnel, Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, developed a team of robots that gets the job done – using laser beams, no less.  Read More

M2 Cusing Machine in operation (Image: NASA)

NASA engineers are using a 3D laser printing system to produce intricate metal parts such as rocket engine components for its next-generation Space Launch System (SLS). The method called “selective laser melting “ (SLM) promises to streamline fabrication and significantly reduce production costs.  Read More

A rather larger laser (Photo: Andrea Pacelli)

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The "nanolaser," which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated.  Read More

An array of the optomechanical accelerometers on the surface of a microchip – the proof ma...

As any smartphone aficionado knows, the accelerometer is one of the key sensors within the device – it allows the phone to know when and by how much it’s been moved. Accelerometers also have many other applications, being major components of things like navigation systems, various automotive systems, and image stabilization systems in cameras. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology are developing a laser-based accelerometer, that they claim should offer much better performance than is currently possible.  Read More

Prototype laser eye-protection spectacles (Image: Crown Copyright/MoD)

Laser pointers may be great fun to tease the cat with, but for pilots they are a major hazard. The United States FAA reports over 2,000 incidents every year of planes having lasers pointed at them - some of them powerful enough to pop a balloon. To combat the danger that lasers pose to aviation, the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing new eye wear that can filter out a wide range of laser wavelengths.  Read More

A consumer laser pointer has been used to create a small, inexpensive Raman spectrometer (...

Hand-held laser pointers can now be used for something else besides doing presentations, projecting images of microorganisms, and disabling satellites. Next week, a group of scientists from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be presenting a compact device that they created, which uses a garden-variety green laser pointer to detect dangerous substances such as explosives.  Read More

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) that will incorporate a 10-kilowatt sol...

With the solid-state high-energy lasers already being tested on the sea and in the air, Boeing is continuing development of a truck-mounted system. The system is similar in concept to Boeing’s Laser Avenger that is intended for combating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but boasts a more powerful laser for countering a wider variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, as well as UAVs.  Read More

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