Cover Story

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... more>>


After Image

State-of-the-Art Satellite Remote Sensing

Joan Lurie

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. more>>

After Image

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

Paul E. Sanders

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. more>>

After Image

A History of Human Color Vision—from Newton to Maxwell

Barry R. Masters

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. more>>


Boosting Photovoltaic Efficiency with Multiple Excitons

Patricia Daukantas

Three U.S. chemists have found a way to wring more electrons per photon from quantum dots, and their technique could lead to new kinds of efficient, inexpensive solar cells. more>>

Micro-LEDs Flex for Biomedical Applications

Patricia Daukantas

A new method for combining tiny LEDs with flexible substrates could lead to a host of biomedical applications. more>>

Spectroscopy during Surgery Could Catch Tumors

Yvonne Carts-Powell

A pen-like device that collects both fluorescence and Raman spectra could enable more accurate surgeries to remove tumors. more>>

Bright Coherent X-rays sans Synchrotron

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Researchers have produced bright spatially-coherent X-rays from a tabletop source. more>>



E-Day 2010: Overcoming Barriers to Teaching Optics

David M. Berg

More than ever, we need today's students to embrace science. The 2010 Science Educator's Day was developed to help secondary-school teachers find the time and opportunity to make optics a part of their curricula. more>>

Optical Engineering

Angle-Tuned Thin-Film Interference Filters for Spectral Imaging

Neil Anderson, Rober Beeson and Turan Erdogan

By using angle-tuned thin-film interference filters, optical engineers can capture nonstandard wavelengths during spectral imaging without compromising performance. more>>

Policy Matters

Report from Capitol Hill: The Outlook for Science Funding

Laura Kolton

What does the new political landscape in Washington mean for U.S. science? more>>

The History of OSA

Presidents of the Late 1950s

John N. Howard

John Howard recalls the lives of four key Society leaders in the late 1950s. more>>