Cover Story

This year, as the laser celebrates its 50th anniversary, a field that was made possible through laser technology reaches an important milestone as well. Over the past 40 years, optical manipulation research has deepened our understanding... more>>


Lasers in Communications

Low-cost semiconductor lasers power the shortest networks in the data center and the long-haul links that speed information around the globe. Today, lasers are integrated into photonic circuitry and even optical cables. more>>

Hermann von Helmholtz: A 19th Century Renaissance Man

Hermann von Helmholtz was many things to many people: physicist, teacher, medical doctor, aesthete and more. He drew on his extensive knowledge of many fields to invent the ophthalmoscope—a device that revolutionized ophthalmology—when he was just 29 years old. more>>

The Promise of Diffractive Waveplates

Diffractive waveplates exhibit the high diffraction efficiency of Bragg gratings in micron-thick material layers. more>>


An adaptive liquid crystal (LC) diffractive lens developed at the University of Arizona (U.S.A.) focuses with high efficiency and zooms with millisecond-fast switching times. more>>

To investigate why some insects can survive freezing, while others can’t, researchers filmed the formation and spread of ice in real time as fly larvae froze using high-energy X-rays from the Advanced Photon Source (APS). more>>

Using standard CMOS tools to fabricate a tiny map of the world. more>>



Chilean Children Take a Voyage of Light

In 2008, an optics professor at the University of Chile and ten pedagogy students began work on a program to educate elementary school children about light and optics. A marvelous voyage had begun. more>>

Global Optics

Optics in India

From antiquity to C.V. Raman’s time to today, India has evolved to become a leader in optical research and industry. more>>

Light Touch

A Popular History of the Laser

Long before Ted Maiman made the first ruby laser work, the concept of directed light had already entered the public consciousness—through all manner of sci-fi ray guns, “blasters,” and hand-held beams. more>>

The History of OSA

Brace, Skinner and Tuckerman: Optics in the Heartland

In the late 1800s, the University of Nebraska became the first school west of the Mississippi to award a doctoral degree. It also gave optics three bright stars and early leaders. more>>

Conversations in Optics

Our conversation with Philippe Keryer, executive VP at Alcatel-Lucent and OFC/NFOEC plenary speaker. more>>

Our conversation with Hideo Myahara, president, National Institute of Information & Communications Technology and OFC/NFOEC plenary session keynote. more>>