OPN October 2009

Cover Story

Optimal Plasmon Focusing with Spatial Polarization Engineering

Weibin Chen, Robert L. Nelson, Don C. Abeysinghe and Qiwen Zhan

Scientists can now manipulate the state of polarization across a laser beam at the wavelength scale. Such engineering allows for optimal plasmonic focusing that could be translated into efficient coupling for plasmonic circuits, high... more>>


Metamaterial-Induced Transparency: Sharp Fano Resonances and Slow Light

Nikitas Papasimakis and Nikolay I. Zheludev

Inspired by the study of atomic resonances, researchers have developed a new type of metamaterial. Their work paves the way toward compact delay lines and slow-light devices. more>>

Lasers in Paleontology

Jeff Hecht

Paleontology has come a long way since early fossil-hunters roamed the Wild West at the end of the 19th century using sharp eyes, picks and shovels to excavate bones. Now, 21st century paleontologists are using lasers to record three-dimensional images of their discoveries, to analyze fossils, and to date rocks. more>>

Robert W. Wood: The Scientist who Played with Optics

Barry R. Masters

Robert Williams Wood viewed the natural world as his playground. For him, science was a highly creative endeavor to be approached with curiosity and awe. Wood was also a scientific maverick who questioned all dogmas. Above all, he was an experimentalist: He tested conclusions, built his own apparatuses, and was excited about every part of the process.



A Molecule-Sized Quantum Optical Transistor

Patricia Daukantas

A Swiss team has shrunk the transistor nearly as far as it can go: to the size of one dye molecule. more>>

Pushing the Limits of Quantum Selectivity

Patricia Daukantas

An international research team has manipulated the pulse shapes of ultrafast lasers in order to distnguish between two molecules with identical absorption and emission spectra. more>>

Did You Know?

Patricia Daukantas

Flexible solar cell panels more>>


Global Optics

Optics in Colombia

Angela M. Guzmán

In Colombia, science and technology may be the key to future growth. For the past two decades, the Red Nacional de Optica (RNO), or Colombian National Network on Optics, has been strengthening optics research in Colombia, promoting international collaboration and opening up new possibilities for Colombian students abroad. . more>>

Optical Engineering

Metrology of Segmented Clear Apertures

Mike Zecchino

Dynamic interferometers are used throughout the world for making critical measurements of large mirrors, telescopes and other optical systems. The combination of application-specific analysis software and vibration-insensitive measurement hardware makes it possible to measure optical systems with segmented clear apertures. more>>

The History of OSA

Early Secretaries of OSA

John N. Howard

Here we look back at the Optical Society’s early secretaries, with a special emphasis on Frank Ross, the first person to hold that position. Secretaries were charged with handling the Society’s routine business, including taking notes at council meetings, negotiating with hotels for meeting space, and notifying the membership of upcoming events. After OSA’s Executive Office was established in 1959, those functions were transferred to the executive secretary. more>>


Strengthning NIH and Water Conservation

Amit Mistry and Robert Saunders

OSA Congressional Fellows share their views on issues at the forefront of Congressional debates. more>>

Conversations in Optics

OPN talks with Janos Kirz

Angela Stark

Our conversation with Janos Kirz, expert in X-ray microscopy and FiO plenary speaker. more>>