OPN January 2002

Cover Story

Lasik and Beyond

Jim Schwiegerling

Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, better known as LASIK, is a surgical procedure for reducing refractive error in the eye. In this procedure, a device called a microkeratome is used to shave a thin, hinged flap in the cornea.... more>>

Features

The Femtosecond Blade: Applications in Corneal Surgery

Tibor Juhasz, Ron Kurtz, Christopher Horvath, Carlos Suarez, Ferenc Raksi, and Greg Spooner

Surgeons use a number of devices to create incisions in tissue. These include steel and gem blades, radio frequency, high-pressure waterjet, and electrocautery technologies. Interestingly, while lasers have an established place in the operating room, as cutting tools they play a minor role. Until recently, a major limiting factor was the lack of three-dimensional precision found with each of three types of laser-tissue interaction: photocoagulation, photoablation, and photodisruption. more>>


The Eye's Mechanisms for Autocalibration

Heidi Hofer and David R.Williams

As those of us who build optical instruments are all too aware, changes in the environment surrounding an instrument or changes within the instrument itself can quickly throw it out of calibration. This usually requires someone to intervene and restore the device to its calibrated state. The human visual system, on the other hand, does not enjoy the luxury of such a caretaker, and must calibrate itself continuously. Evolution has created ingenious mechanisms that maintain optimal visual performance over the three-quarters of a century that corresponds to a typical human lifespan. more>>


Making the Invisible Visible: Röntgen's Mysterious X Rays

Brian S. Baigrie

Amateur scientists who traveled from town to town in the mid-nineteenth century delighted audiences by showing them the ancestor of the neon sign: the air was pumped out of a glass tube with platinum wires embedded in opposite ends, and the interior was made to glow in lively patterns when a high voltage was run across the wires. Transfixed by the fluorescence, the lecturers had however absolutely no idea what caused the electrical excitation in the vacuum tube. more>>


Scatterings

Pulses

Business

Venture Capital in Optics: Barren Desert...or Secluded Oasis?

Joe Andrulis

Optical communications, like most ofthe rest of the communications industry, is struggling mightily in today’s business environment. This situation, which has cast a pall over the entire industry, has given rise among venture capitalists to a generally skeptical bias toward optics startups. more>>


Capital View

Federal Funding Choices in the Anthrax Era

Stephen Barlas

Given an expected federal budget deficit in fiscal 2002, there won’t be enough money to fully meet every public health need. Choices will have to be made. The importance of making the right funding choices is underlined by past failures to do much of anything to establish an infrastructure to detect and respond to a chemical or biological attack. more>>


Education

Teaching the Physics of a Diode-Pumped Laser

Oscar E. Martinez, Mario C. Marconi, Francisco P. Diodati, Alejandro A. Hnilo, Marcelo G. Kovalsky, and Alejandro Touron

To teach the basic physics of laser radiation, with support from the government of Argentina we designed a modular kit featuring all the solid-state components necessary to assemble a Nd:YAG laser. more>>


Engineering

The Uncertainty Principle in Classical Optics

Masud Mansuripur

In this article we address two problems that have widespread applications in optical metrology, spectroscopy, telecommunications, etc., and discuss the constraints imposed by the uncertainty principle on these problems. more>>


Global Optics

In Canada, Rural Fiber Network Sets the Pace

Susan M. Reiss

Retired policemen operate one of the newest high-speed communication networks in Canada. But you won’t find any of its hubs in the country’s urban centers. more>>


Legal Lens

Uncle Sam and Auntie Trust

Joseph E. Gortych

In this month’s column we examine the basics of antitrust law: its origins, the main bodies of law, and how antitrust issues arise. more>>


Washington Focus

Bioterrorism and Social Choice: Public Health vs. Health Care

Matthew L. Puglisi

Although the nation’s defense and intelligence community had not been successful in preventing the September 11 hijackings, the military and defense apparatus was able to mount a credible response. The country’s public health system, in contrast, appeared unequal to the task of responding to the bioterrorist threat. more>>

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