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Photonics

Members of the Rensselaer terahertz sensing research team (Photo: Rensselaer/Daria Robbins...

Hidden explosives, chemical weapons, biological agents and illegal drugs could one day be optically detectable from up to 20 meters away. How? Well, every substance has its own unique terahertz (THz) radiation “fingerprint”, the waves of which pass through anything other than metal or liquid. Scientists from New York state’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are working on a way of analyzing those waves, then determining what substance they’re emanating from. The process would be harmless to both the subject and the observer, and could make the world a much safer place.  Read More

As the electric current of the strontium barium niobate crystal was altered, the noisy ima...

Noise in images is generally held to be a bad thing, but engineers from Princeton University have used a nonlinear material to steal energy from image noise to reveal hidden or obscured objects. The engineers see the technology as potentially paving the way for improvements to radar systems, sonograms and stenography offering the possibility of allowing pilots to see through fog and doctors to look inside the human body without surgery  Read More

IBM researchers have developed their latest building block in their effort to achieve phot...

Researchers at IBM have made important progress toward creating silicon circuits that communicate using pulses of light rather than electrical signals. This is thanks to a device called nanophotonic avalanche photodetector (NAP), which, as detailed on the journal Nature, is the fastest of its kind and is a major step toward achieving energy-efficient computing that will have significant implications for the future of electronics.  Read More

This optical chip can convert light pulses into digital signals faster and more efficientl...

Researchers at UC Davis have manufactured a device that can convert light pulses into electronic signals and back that is up to 10,000 times faster than existing technologies, leading the way to ultrafast, high-capacity telecommunication and advanced three-dimensional imaging systems.  Read More

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

MIT researchers have developed a new way to tune the frequency of lasers that operate in t...

New research out of MIT could lead to smarter airport scanners able to detect the presence of drugs and explosives. At the heart of the development is a new approach to laser tuning designed to harness terahertz rays so that they can be used to determine an object's chemical composition.  Read More

The first commercial shipment of low-light, ultra thin, solar cell technology called DSSC,...

The first commercial shipment of low-light, ultra thin, solar cell technology called DSSC (dye-sensitized solar cells), created by G24 Innovations, has been sent to Hong Kong-based consumer electronics bag manufacturer, Mascotte Industrial Associates for use in backpacks and bags. Ideal for clothing and portable applications, DSSCs are less than 1mm thick, inexpensive, don’t contain silicon or cadmium and can even operate indoors, making them ideal for powering cell telephones, cameras and portable electronics. The company says DSSCs also can be embedded into tent material to power LED lighting systems for camping.  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

Scanning electron microscope images (b and c) show that the gold core and the thickness of...

Researchers at Cornell, Purdue and Norfolk State University have reported the successful creation of a 'spaser', a new kind of nanoscale laser that breaks dimensional limits previously thought to be insurmountable, leading the way to significantly faster and more efficient computer processing and data transfer rates.  Read More

Timing of the optical writing, write and read signals. (Photo: Haruka Tanji, Saikat Ghosh,...

Scientists are rapidly achieving important breakthroughs in quantum computing, from obtaining precise manipulation of four photons at the same time to the very first quantum processors. But just like in traditional electronics, a quantum computer can't be realized with information processing alone — we need a reliable way to store and retrieve quantum information too. A new breakthrough by MIT researchers represents a step forward in acheiving this goal of high-fidelity quantum memory.  Read More

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