July 2004

Holography: From Science to Subcultures

Sean F. Johnston

Holography has been reconceived and retargeted time and again by a diverse succession of users with divergent perceptions, methods and goals. This brief history of holography charts the contributions to its development made by scientists, artists and entrepreneurs.

Cutting Tissue With Ultrashort Pulsed Laser Light

Ultrashort pulsed laser light can be used to cut biological tissue in a highly localized and controlled manner. Among the practical applications that are beginning to emerge: an all-optical technique for automated, three-dimensional histology of brain tissue and an optical-based technique to incorporate plasmid DNA into living cells.

Evanescent Wave Vibrational Microscopy

In 1928, two remarkable scientists, E. H. Synge and C. V. Raman, published separate papers on different topics. Nearly 70 years later, the ideas published in their papers were fused. The technique that emerged, evanescent wave vibrational microscopy, has become an important analytical tool for modern nanotechnologists and biological physicists.

High Power Fiber Lasers

Recent advances in fiber and laser diode technologies have led to kilowatt-power fiber lasers with output beams of single transverse mode quality. Given the significant practical advantages of optical fibers, the trend could profoundly affect laser technology and stimulate the use of lasers in a growing range of applications.

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