Cover Story

Optics for the Giant Magellan Telescope

Buddy Martin

Astronomers will soon be using the 25-m Giant Magellan Telescope to probe the universe with a sensitivity and resolution that go far beyond anything that can be achieved today. more>>

Features

Laser Tweezers and Holographic Optical Trapping

Ward Lopes

Tractor beams have long been a staple of science fiction, and now they have a real-life equivalent on the micro-scale. Laser tweezers can trap and hold tiny objects in three dimensions and may one day be used to manufacture micro- and nano-scale products. more>>


Having Fun with Silicon Marbles

Ali Serpenguzel

Silicon gave us the microelectronics revolution of the previous century and may lead the microphotonics revolution of this one. It is also the material of choice for manufacturing modern marbles, and, on a smaller scale, for microspheres that may enable three-dimensional electrophotonic integration into volumetric lightwave circuits. more>>


Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Patricia Daukantas

While his 17th-century contemporaries were debating the nature of light, Ole Rømer was busy measuring its velocity. This little-known Danish scientist was the first to determine that light moves at a finite speed. more>>


Wavy Diffraction Gratings

Stephen Jacobs

OSA Fellow Stephen Jacobs describes how he created “wavy gratings” by attaching a diffractive material to corrugated metal roofing. The result is a brilliant display of colors that welcomes visitors to Tucson’s City Hall and the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Science Center. more>>