Cover Story

The far-fetched concept of weather control just might be in our scientific forecast. Researchers are making progress in using ultrashort laser pulses to create lightning and cue cloud formation, with potential applications in agriculture... more>>


The Road to Multi-Dimensional Bit-by-Bit Optical Data Storage

Recent advances in optical data storage have led to the development of a five-dimensional device that could hold up to 2,000 times more data than a conventional DVD. more>>

Holography and the Laser

The invention of the hologram actually predates that of the laser, but they both came of age during the technological boom of the 1960s. Holography has not matched the growth of some laser applications, but if you look in your pocket or purse, you will find it is alive and well. more>>

The Optical Illusions of Cosmetics

Using optically complex pigments and particles that scatter light, today’s cosmetic scientists and designers have engineered sophisticated new products that enhance people’s features rather than cover up their skin. more>>

Rayleigh Was Right: Electromagnetic Fields and Corrugated Interfaces

Lord Rayleigh theorized that the electromagnetic field in a periodically corrugated interface is composed of waves outgoing from the interface. A careful numerical analysis suggests that this hypothesis is true well beyond the commonly stated limit. more>>


A laser surface treatment dramatically changes the wetting qualities of silicon, with potential applications in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technologies and electronic cooling. more>>

A new center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.A.) is dedicated to developing solar technologies that push the envelope in efficiency. more>>

Researchers recently reported a photovoltaic concentrator design comprised of a Fresnel lens and a refractive secondary element. more>>


Career Focus

Launching a Column—and a Career

Whether you’re writing a Ph.D. thesis, managing a magazine, or embarking on a new career, getting started is always the hardest part. We’re pleased to introduce this new column to serve as a resource to our readers who are in the process of making a career transition. more>>

Global Optics

Lasers in Crete: OSA Fellow Visits IESL-FORTH

OSA Fellow Barry Masters describes his trip to the beautiful island of Crete, where he met with colleagues from the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser at the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas. more>>

Optical Engineering

Evaluating System Performance: Between a “ROC” and a Hard Place

How can engineers use a receiver operating characteristics curve to assess the functioning of a complex sensor system? more>>

Policy Matters

Lasers’ Reach Far Exceeds Initial Grasp

Initially called the “solution in search of a problem,” the laser has become the perfect demonstration of the long-term value of government-funded research. more>>

The History of OSA

Presidents of the Early 1940s

Meet two 20th century OSA leaders—one who helped lay the foundation for the study of light visibility and another who developed the tungsten filament lamp. more>>