Optics Summaries

figureExperimental scheme for conditional single-photon subtraction from a light field. (See Bellini et al.)

This special issue of Optics & Photonics News (OPN) highlights the most exciting peer-reviewed optics research to have emerged over the past 12 months. The areas covered in 2009 include nanophotonics, optical engineering, phase sensing, photonic systems, plasmons and surface waves, quantum computing, Raman spectroscopy, slow light, solar power, statistical optics, terahertz technology, transformational optics, ultrafast optics and X-ray lasers.

This year’s issue comprises 28 summaries representing the work of more than 120 authors from 13 countries. Submissions were judged on the basis of the following criteria:

• The accomplishments described must have been published in a refereed journal in the year prior to publication in OPN.

• The work should be illustrated in a clear, concise manner that is readily accessible to the at-large optics community.

• The authors should describe the topical area as a whole and then discuss the importance of their work in that context.

Although OPN makes every effort to ensure that achievements in all optics subfields are recognized, there are no requirements in the selection process for inclusion of specific topical areas. When we receive a large number of submissions for a specific area, it is taken as evidence that the topic has been fertile ground for activity and research. OPN strives to ensure that engineering, science and technology are all represented.

OPN and OSA would like to thank all the researchers from around the world who submitted summaries, as well as our panel chair and guest editors.

This year's summaries

Nanophotonics
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.

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

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.

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

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