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Optical

Science

Steerable optical nanoantennas light the way for practical lab-on-a-chip devices

Using unidirectional cubic nanoantennas to direct the output from nanoemitters, researchers at Monash University in Australia have described a method to accurately focus light at the nanoscale. The practical upshot of which is substantial progress towards guided, ultra-narrow beams needed for the new world of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and the eventual production of entire lab-on-a-chip devices. Read More

Telecommunications

Breaking the speed record: Multi-core optical fibers achieve 255 Tbps

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Central Florida have developed a new fiber optics cable capable of transmitting the contents of over 5,000 DVDs in a single second – a speed six times greater than the previous record. The advance could help us reach petabit-per-second speeds over the next few years, which will be crucial for keeping up with growing bandwidth demands.Read More

Military

RAZAR riflescope brings push-button zoom to the battlefied

In combat, seconds count and a moment’s hesitation or distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So it's no small problem that modern riflescopes often require soldiers to look away from their targets or take their hands off their rifles in order to change magnification. Sandia National Laboratories’ Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) riflescope is capable of switching between high and low zoom magnifications at the touch of a button, allowing soldiers to concentrate on the battle rather than their scopes.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People

Super-resolved fluorescence microscopy pioneers awarded 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek turned his simple microscope on a bit of pond water in the 17th century, optical microscopes have been a key tool for biologists. Unfortunately, they’re rather limited as to the smallness of what they can see – or at least, they were. This year's winners of the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner, changed all that. Their discovery of two methods to bypass the physical limits of optical microscopes led to the creation of the field of nanomicroscopy. Read More

Computers

Vision-correcting display lets users ditch their reading glasses

In an age where reading something from a screen on a phone or a computer is a normal part of our daily lives, the wearing of glasses or contact lenses often makes doing so a chore with eye-strain problems and the necessity to carry around spectacles or lenses wherever you go. In this vein, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have created a prototype vision-correcting, printed pinhole matrix that they claim fits directly to a screen and negates the need for eyeglasses or remedial lenses and may one day offer improved visual acuity to those with eye problems much worse than simple farsightedness.Read More

Telecommunications

10 Gbps Li-Fi system shows wireless data transfer in a new light

Light might be the preferred option for transmitting data over long distances via cables, but when it comes to short range wireless, radio waves rule in the form of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Now Mexican company Sisoft, working with researchers from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), has developed a wireless technology that transmits data in visible light emitted from LED lamps, while lighting the room at the same time.Read More

Automotive

Terahertz tech could keep cars from rusting

Although all steel-bodied cars rust eventually, premature rusting may soon be less of a problem thanks to technology developed by father-and-son team Anis and Aunik Rahman. Their system non-destructively analyzes automobiles' paint jobs, making sure that the layers of paint have been applied properly. It could reportedly also find use diagnosing the early stages of skin cancer. Read More

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