Cover Story

Lasers may finally provide dental patients a good reason to open up and say ahhhh. Dentists are already using optical technologies to detect tooth decay and lasers for therapeutic interventions, and they are looking to a future in which... more>>


Mode Harnessing for Laser Diodes

Recent experiments have shown that the modal structure of broad-area edge-emitting semiconductor lasers is box-like, with each lateral mode having a distinct wavelength. Thus, researchers can now reshape lateral modes and effectively combine all multimode laser output into a single-mode fiber. This approach provides a promising means for delivering high-power, high-speed modulated beams of any wavelength that are directly radiated from semiconductor lasers. more>>

Telescope Lens-Making in the 17th Century: The Legacy of Vangelista Torricelli

In the early days of instrumental optics, the know-how of lens making was shrouded in secrecy. A remarkable exception can be found in a letter from 1643, in which the Italian lens-maker Vangelista Torricelli gives his correspondent directions on optical shop practices. more>>


A Chinese team’s 3-D display system delivers 1.8-m-tall images that don’t require polarized glasses or other specialized viewing devices. more>>

Researchers have fabricated Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) that significantly boost “wall plug efficiency,” or the ratio of the power the laser emits to the power that the device consumes. more>>

Using scanning lidar data to analyze wildfire smoke plumes. more>>


Policy Matters

Optics and the U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense is a major source of support for optics research done in American labs, academic institutions and private businesses. more>>

The History of OSA

Profiles in Optics: Wallace R. Brode

The life and career of a former JOSA editor and OSA president. more>>


When Is Science Valid?

For scientists, peer review is the time-tested method for establishing scientific facts. But how can we educate a public that is growing accustomed to challenging a consensus they don’t understand? more>>