December 2009

Optics Summaries

This special issue of Optics & Photonics News (OPN) highlights the most exciting research to emerge in the preceding 12 months in the fast-paced world of optics.


Researchers have developed techniques for using light to probe sub-wavelength dimensions.

Optical Engineering

Supercontinuum fiber laser technology is at a stage where compact, high-power white-light sources are commercially available at a low cost.

Phase Sensing

Phase sensing has led to advances in X-ray beam characterization and cellular microsurgery.

Photonic Systems

Applications of photonic structures continue to expand not only into the optical equivalents of semiconductor properties but into quantum optics.

Plasmons and Surface Waves

Recent work is focusing on plasmons that propagate at the metal/air interface.

Quantum Computing

Researchers have developed quantum memory that is multi-mode and well-adapted for time-bin qubits.

Raman Spectroscopy

Coherent anti-Stokes Raman techniques are increasing the utility of Raman scattering for chemical and biological diagnostics.

Slow Light

Images imprinted on a laser pulse can be dramatically slowed when traversing an alkali vapor medium via electromagnetically induced transparency.

Solar Power

Organic photovoltaics is an active research area because thin-film solar cells can be processed directly onto large-area substrates and patterned into modules, thus lowering manufacturing costs.

Statistical Optics

Working at the noise level of an optical signal, we can engineer unexpected performance.

Terahertz Technology

We regularly return to the wavelength region between 30 µm and 1 mm to exploit this underdeveloped spectral range.

Transformational Optics

Transformational optics is no longer just about cloaking. True to its name, it is transforming the entire field of physical optics.

Ultrafast Optics

The space-time duality of electromagnetic waves allows for the creation of temporal waveforms and the measurement of their properties.


Simple diffraction does not establish the limits on lateral resolution. We can use our new knowledge of light propagation to develop ultrasensitive instruments.

X-Ray Lasers

Researchers have achieved a 1-ps pulse from a compact soft X-ray laser plasma amplifier.


JP Mfg. Inc.: Keeping Optics in the Family

Adaptive Optics for Better Vision Correction

Diamond Raman Lasers Gain Efficiency

Did You Know?

Presidents of the 1920s


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