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A new lithographic method has been used to build highly nonlinear optical materials (Photo...

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Seoul National University have developed a new lithographic method with the help of a very low-tech tool: Scotch Magic tape. This new method, which promises to enhance our ability to fabricate nanostructures, has been used to build highly nonlinear optical materials consisting of sheets of 25 micron (0.001 in) metal blocks separated by nanometer-wide insulating channels. As light squeezes through these channels, incompletely understood plasmonic effects enable novel optical behavior.  Read More

Images taken by the 6.5 meter Clay telescope with and without the new adaptive optics syst...

Astronomers have developed a new visible-light adaptive optics (AO) system for the 6.5 meter diameter Magellan-Clay telescope in Chile's Atacama desert. The new AO system replaces the secondary mirror of the telescope with a thin adaptive mirror that can be deformed by its 585 mechanical actuators at a rate of more than 1000 times a second to correct for the image smearing effects of atmospheric turbulence. The result is the sharpest astronomical images ever produced – more than twice as sharp as can be achieved by the Hubble space telescope viewing objects through the vacuum of space.  Read More

Scientists have managed to stop light within a crystal for up to one minute (Photo: TU Dar...

Researchers at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany have managed to stop light for up to one minute inside a crystal and store digitally-encoded information inside it. The technique shatters previous records and could prove very useful in developing faster and highly-efficient quantum and optical computers.  Read More

A recent optical disc archive system from Sony

Technology giants Sony and Panasonic are joining forces to create a single optical disc with 300 GB of capacity by 2015. Both companies have developed their own high capacity optical disc technology in the past, and the joint venture will aim to create a new format to target large amounts of storage for corporations, though it could be introduced into the consumer market as well.  Read More

Graphene continues to strengthen its reputation as a wonder material, this time in the fie...

Researchers from the Universities of Bath and Exeter have shown that a few layers of graphene stacked on top of each other could act as a formidable material for optical switches, delivering speeds up to 100 times faster than current telecommunications technology.  Read More

Principal Investigator John Hagopian and his team have developed a new technique to apply ...

Super-black nanotechnology might sound like something ripped from the pages of a comic book, but instead of being in the hands of a super-villain, it's a NASA-researched technology that is set to make spacecraft instruments more sensitive without increasing their size. John Hagopian, an optics engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and his team have demonstrated the ability to grow a uniform layer of carbon nanotubes on oddly shaped platforms, which will extend the potential of the technology by allowing nanotubes to be grown on 3D components.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Southampton have created an extremely durable computer me...

Recently, there have been advances in the area of digital data storage promising outstanding data density and super-long-term data storage. A new data storage technology developed at the University of Southampton can do both. Due to its similarities to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, it has been dubbed the "Superman memory crystal."  Read More

Two-photon photoactivator/photoinhibitor allows fabrication of polymer structures one hund...

Data storage and preservation are no longer restricted to the needs of individual users, or even of companies or governments large and small. Instead they are the only remaining approach to preserving the history associated with the evolution of the digital age, and possibly the post-human era to follow. A research team headed by Prof. Min Gu of Swinburne University of Technology has developed a new data storage method that may be of considerable use for such civilization-sized concerns by putting a petabyte of information on a DVD-sized polymer disk.  Read More

A child playing as seen by a person with Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the western world. Unfortunately, conventional optical aids provide little help for a retina which has lost the acuity of its central area. Now a team of multinational researchers led by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Professor Joseph Ford has created a telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision to offer AMD patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision.  Read More

A Stanford breakthrough in optical metamaterials could enable fabrication of a wide-spectr...

To make a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak requires that the materials from which it is made have a negative refractive index over all optical wavelengths, from red to violet. However, the artificially-structured optical materials from which cloaks are made thus far have been restricted to a very narrow range of optical wavelengths, limiting their ability to cloak over a range of colors. That obstacle to progress ends now, as a group of Stanford optical engineers at Stanford has succeeded in designing a broadband metamaterial that exhibits a negative refractive index over nearly the entire rainbow.  Read More

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