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Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have devised a way to squeeze light b...

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have put the squeeze on light. By discovering that light within optical fibers can be squeezed into much tighter spaces than was previously believed possible, the researchers at the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) have claimed a breakthrough that could change the world's thinking on light’s capabilities, especially when it comes to its use in telecommunications, such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), computing and other light sources.  Read More

A bump on the metallic floor is hidden, but the cloak itself is visible due to surface ref...

Over the last few years we’ve covered the development of “invisibility cloaks” using metamaterials – man-made structured composite materials exhibiting optical properties not found in nature that can guide light to achieve cloaking and other optical effects. In 2006, scientists at Duke University demonstrated in the laboratory that an object made of metamaterials can be partially invisible to particular wavelengths of light - not visible light, but rather microwaves. A few groups have even managed to achieve a microscopically-sized carpet-cloak. Now researchers have developed software that can show what such a cloaked object will actually look like.  Read More

An image from the orbiting Hyperspectral Remote Sensor (HRS)

Combining sophisticated sensors in orbit with sensors on the ground and in the air has led researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) to create a “Hyperspectral Remote Sensor” (HRS) that can give advance warnings about water contamination after a forest fire, alert authorities of a pollution spill long before a red flag is raised on Earth, or inform the population where a monsoon will strike.  Read More

The principle of optical Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (oOFDM)

A new technology that applies the same principles used by ADSL to improve the capacity of data transfer over copper and wireless broadband could potentially increase the data capacity of optical fiber cables tenfold. It’s creators say the technology, known as optical Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (oOFDM), offers an inexpensive way drastically boost the capacity of increasingly strained broadband networks and improve download times around the world.  Read More

MIT researchers have found a way to make light travel  one-way without reflections in a lo...

Light normally bounces off obstacles in its way, and the part of the beam that is reflected back and captured by our eyes contributes to our perception of the world around us. However, every reflection dissipates a small part of the beam's energy, and can eventually weaken it significantly. A team of MIT researchers have developed an innovative waveguide that allows microwave light to travel one way only and without reflections, paving the way to much more efficient lightwave circuits and connections.  Read More

A section of a butterfly wing under a microscope (Photo: PSU/SINC)

Researchers have developed a technique to replicate biological structures, such as butterfly wings, on a nano scale. They focused on the tiny nano-sized photonic structures that are found in the insects’ cuticle, and which give insects their iridescence - that slightly metallic sheen that also seems to shift in color depending on the viewing angle. By replicating the biotemplate of butterfly wings, the researchers hope to be able to make various optically-active structures, such as optical diffusers or coverings that maximize solar cell absorption.  Read More

The time telescope could speed up optical communication by over 27 times. (Photo: Wikimedi...

Most of today's telecommunication data is encoded at a speed of 10 Gbit/s, but researchers are constantly looking for new ways to push this limit even further. A group of researchers at Cornell University have recently come up with the "time telescope," a sophisticated system that can speed up optical communication by 27 times to an outstanding 270 Gbits/s by squeezing more information into a single flash of light and that, unlike previous solutions, does so in an energy-efficient manner.  Read More

Excitonics could provide us with faster computers and better communication speeds - except...

Much of today's research in electronics is geared towards obtaining faster computing and higher communication speeds. Researchers at UC San Diego are no exception, and have recently announced they have made another important step towards achieving exciton-based computation at room temperatures. Excitonics exploits the unique properties of excitons instead of the usual electrons, and promises much faster performance by interfacing more naturally with optical communications such as fiber optics.  Read More

Intel is preparing to ship Light Peak components for device adoption in 2010

Though it may not make it into everyone’s ‘top ten’ list of most desirable technological developments, replacing the spaghetti-junction of wires that typically gathers behind a desk or workspace would undoubtedly be a welcome advance. Wireless peripherals are helping the situation somewhat and wireless power will be a massive boon once perfected but, in the meantime, we’re looking to technologies like optical cables to handle high-volume data transfer. Intel’s recent research in this area should be of particular interest, since it’s designed to replace or augment connections used in consumer-based electronics, such as USB2.0, HDMI, Firewire, DVI and the like.  Read More

Schematic of light being compressed and sustained in the 5 nanometer gap (left) and an ele...

Breakthroughs are coming thick and fast – or should that be thin and fast – in the field of nanoscale lasers. It wasn’t even a month ago that we reported on the development of a laser emitting 'metal-semiconductor-metal sandwich', made up of a semiconductor as thin as 80 nanometers laying between 20-nanometer dielectric layers. But now researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have reached a new milestone in laser physics by creating the world's smallest semiconductor laser, capable of generating visible light in a space smaller than a single protein molecule.  Read More

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