Cover Story

Optical Filters in Nature

H.D. Wolpert

Optical engineers require an array of sophisticated equipment to produce what Mother Nature creates effortlessly—optical filters that are diverse, complex and visually striking. more>>


Half a Century of Laser Weapons

Jeff Hecht

Even before the laser was invented, science fiction writers saw rich potential in the use of light-beam “death rays” as powerful tools of destruction. But the real history of directed-energy weapons in the United States has been fraught with political and technical challenges and setbacks. more>>

Reflections on Total Internal Reflection

Lorne A. Whitehead and Michele A. Mossman

These authors probe some of the most fundamental approximations in optics to explore why total internal reflection is not as straightforward as it might seem. more>>


Plasma Polarization Puzzler

Yvonne Carts-Powell

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers produced pairs of 80-fs, 800-nm pulses using a Ti:sapphire laser and a Michelson interferometer. more>>

Metamaterials Enable Sub-Diffraction Imaging

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Optical superlenses made with negative-refractive materials could allow much finer optical lithography and chip inspection. more>>

Did You Know?

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Substrate-Bound Proteins Create Image of Einstein more>>


Optics Innovations

LightPath Finds a New Path

Ray Pini

How a niche telecom company turned into a high-volume supplier. more>>

The History of OSA

OSA’s First Four Presidents

John N. Howard

A look back at the Optical Society’s founding fathers. more>>


Energy Solutions that Work Smarter, not Harder.

Alicia Jackson

The 2008 OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow makes the case for an often-overlooked energy solution: increasing the efficiency of our existing resources. more>>