Cover Story

This is the century of the diode laser. These authors describe how direct-diode lasers are entering the high-power laser market, enabling materials-processing applications such as welding, soldering and cutting. more>>


Making the First Low-Loss Optical Fibers

Thirty years before the laser was invented, researchers laid the groundwork for another huge breakthrough in optics—the development of low-loss fiber for communications. more>>

Broadband Nonlinear Frequency Conversion

Researchers are working to develop new techniques for nonlinear frequency conversion as well as new crystal design structures to help meet this need. Their work is leading to applications in optical communications, metrology and other areas. more>>

So What Do I Do with a Ph.D., Anyway?

In this roundtable discussion, three young professionals with a background in optics talk with OPN about how they answered this important question for themselves. more>>


A new scheme developed by researchers encodes the phase and amplitude information of terahertz waves onto ultraviolet light that can be detected from a distance and from almost any angle. more>>

The Germany-based team known for its research into ultrashort light-pulse generation has pushed the record for the shortest deep-ultraviolet pulses below 3 fs. more>>

Researchers at Columbia University and IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center built an optical parametric amplifier (OPA) on a single silicon chip. more>>

A century after it was first used to probe the duality of waves and particles, a modified version of the double-slit experiment—using three slits—has placed a limit on the accuracy of one of the laws of quantum mechanics. more>>


Career Focus

Thinking Beyond Academia in Your Job Search

Today’s math problem: If twelve physics graduate students are all being trained to take over one professorial position, what happens to the other eleven? more>>

Light Touch

Diffraction, the Silk Handkerchief, and a Forgotten Founder

Between signing the Declaration of Independence, composing opera, and helping to design the U.S. flag, Francis Hopkinson also dabbled in optics—using his silk handkerchief to observe diffraction.


Optical Engineering

A Red Light for Green Laser Pointers

Inexpensive green laser pointers can emit 20 mW of unspecified infrared radiation in addition to their green output. The problem derives from an unsafe design. This article describes a simple diagnostic method to identify hazardous pointers by using a digital camera, a Web camera, a remote control and a compact disc. more>>

The History of OSA

Wood Visits Rayleigh's Lab

When Robert W. Wood journeyed across the pond in 1904, he wound up feeling right at home in the lab of another legendary optical physicist. more>>


Do We Need Visas for Science-Related Travel?

Scientists who must acquire visas to travel to technical conferences are often forced to cancel their plans due to procedural hassles and delays. As we look to promote international collaboration among researchers, the time may be right to consider other alternatives for science-related travel. more>>

Conversations in Optics

Our conversation with Henry C. Kapteyn and Margaret M. Murnane, ultrafast laser experts and Arthur L. Schawlow prize recipients. more>>