Cover Story

Geochemical reactions and seismic activity lead to changes in the temperature and composition of volcanic gases. Laser spectroscopy enables online, in situ monitoring of volcanoes. In combination with fiber optic sensors, it may one day... more>>


An Analysis of OSA’s Peer Review Survey

Peer review of scientific articles is considered a fundamental professional responsibility by the majority of those who responded to a survey of reviewers for OSA’s journals. more>>

Quantum Key Distribution: How Do We Know It’s Secure?

Quantum key distribution—the creation of secret keys from quantum mechanical correlations—is an example of how physical methods can be used to solve problems in classical information theory. The author describes the basic principles that can be used to confirm the security of the quantum key distribution systems now being marketed to banks, governments and network service providers. more>>

Optics and the Old Masters Revisited

Did Jan van Eyck use an optical projector to create one of the most famous paintings of the early Renaissance? Some have suggested that the artist built the projector by reversing the convex mirror depicted in the painting itself. The author arrives at a different conclusion by use of geometrical optical analysis. more>>



Optical Engineering

Transmission of Light Through Small Elliptical Apertures (Part 1)

The apertures of classical optics simply block those parts of an incident wavefront that fall outside the aperture, allowing everything else to go through intact.Moreover,multiple apertures act upon an incident beam independently of each other, polarization effects are usually negligible (i.e., scalar diffraction), and it is not necessary to keep track of both the electric- and the magnetic-field components of the beam. more>>

Washington Focus

Federal Officials Call For Scrutiny of Nanotechnology

The federal government is acting to address both concerns. The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, which authorizes $3.7 billion in federal funding over four years, requires study of the potential impact of nanotechnology on society. more>>