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Optical

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

Amplifying information – the key to the quantum Internet?

The establishment of a worldwide quantum internet would provide individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments access to intrinsically secure communications. However, absorption of photons in transit between internet nodes can dramatically reduce the efficiency of such a quantum internet. Now a research group at Australia's (CQCCT) has invented a way to recover some of the lost quantum information by teleporting the original information to another photon.  Read More

Scientists have created lenses that refract light in the same fashion as the lens in the h...

Although many people may think that the lenses in our eyes are just like those found in cameras, there is in fact one key difference between the two – while man-made lenses have just a single index of refraction, meaning that they only bend light in one direction, our natural lenses refract light by varying degrees. This is why artificial implanted lenses, such as those used to treat cataracts, can create visual distortions. A new technology, however, now allows for the fabrication of lenses that work just like the ones in our eyes.  Read More

A 3D printed mobile projector accessory with embedded light pipes that direct light to the...

Researchers at Disney Research Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are experimenting with 3D printed optics using clear resin. Printed optics can create a variety of effects within 3D-printed objects, from focusing light within printed prisms to channeling light through honeycomb-like "light pipes," which give the effect of individually lit pixels.  Read More

Professor Zenghu Chang with his ultrashort laser pulse apparatus

Since first invented, the effort to make lasers that can produce shorter and more powerful pulses of light has been a very active one. One driving force is that if you want to take a picture of something occurring very rapidly, you need a very short pulse of light to prevent the image from blurring. The first ruby laser produced microsecond pulses of light, but more recently femtosecond optical pulses a billion times shorter have become common. Still shorter pulses belong to the attosecond regime - the regime wherein a University of Central Florida research team is creating optical pulses sufficiently brief to stop quantum mechanics in its tracks.  Read More

A new ultrathin, flat lens focuses light without imparting the optical distortions of conv...

The miniaturization of electronics, in particular the electronic sensors on which digital images are captured, has seen digital cameras shrink to such a degree that they are now standard equipment on mobile phones. The main thing holding back further downsizing is the lens through which the light is focused onto said image sensor. A team of applied physicists from Harvard University has now overcome this roadblock by creating a lens that, at just 60 nanometers thick, is effectively two-dimensional. Not only that, the ultrathin lens focuses light without the distortions seen in conventional lenses.  Read More

Lenses made of amorphous chalcogenide glass

Driving a car in the country at night can be a scary. The combination of poor visibility and animals or other hard to spot obstacles on the road poses an obvious threat to both the car and its occupants. Some luxury models now have the option of forward looking infrared (FLIR) night vision systems, so you can see the animal in time to swerve. Unfortunately these systems are pricey, even as an aftermarket add-on, but that may soon change through the work of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (IWM) in Freiburg, Germany. The researchers have invented a way of bringing down the cost of the infrared lenses in FLIR systems down by 70 percent - opening the way to cheap FLIR cameras for the mass market.  Read More

Researchers in Finland developed optical displays from water and air using a dual-scale su...

Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have discovered a novel way to write and present information using only water and air. They used the water-repelling properties of the lotus leaf as inspiration for an experiment with a superhydrophobic (“water-repelling”), dual-scale surface that allows the writing, erasing, rewriting and storing of optically displayed information in plastrons related to different length scales. The research was carried out in partnership with the Nokia Research Center and University of Cambridge and was led by Dr. Robin Ras at Aalto University.  Read More

Laser Spoke measures your pedaling power

Modern electronics have given us the means to measure nearly every part of our performance – speed, distance, vertical, heart rate, etc. But there are still other variables that go unmeasured by the average athlete. The Laser Spoke provides a simple aftermarket solution for tracking cycling power.  Read More

Researchers have designed coupled lasers that act as general-purpose optical logic gates

High hopes have been maintained for decades concerning optical logic, optical switching matrices (e.g. for communications), and optical computing. The missing link in actualizing this promise is a practical circuit element that allows one light to be turned on or off purely by application of another light to the device - rather like voltage on the control gate of a field effect transistor. This missing link has now been developed through a novel application of the complex behavior exhibited by coupled lasers.  Read More

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