January 2011

Solar Concentrators: Using Optics to Boost Photovoltaics

Valerie C. Coffey

The use of solar energy requires optimizing each part of a photovoltaic system: collection optics, the photovoltaic array, switches, controllers, current inverters, storage devices and tracking mechanics. A vast amount of research is currently focused on perfecting each of these areas. Several types of solar concentrator technology are transitioning from the R&D stage to commercial deployment.

State-of-the-Art Satellite Remote Sensing

The Earth-observation business has undergone a sea change. Commercial firms have launched satellites with sophisticated imaging capability once reserved for classified government specialists. Today, there are more high-resolution satellite images available than ever before—and they are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

Fiber-Optic Sensors: Playing Both Sides of the Energy Equation

Fiber-optic sensors are playing an emerging role in both new energy-generation technologies—including wind, solar and geothermal—and approaches for improving recovery of our existing oil and gas reserves.

A History of Human Color Vision—from Newton to Maxwell

Color vision has attracted the attention of philosophers and scientists throughout the ages—from Aristotle to Goethe to Schrödinger. This article tracks the history of color vision over more than three centuries, with a particular emphasis on the contributions of James Clerk Maxwell.

Angle-Tuned Thin-Film Interference Filters for Spectral Imaging

Spectroscopy during Surgery Could Catch Tumors

Bright Coherent X-rays sans Synchrotron

Presidents of the Late 1950s

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