Cover Story

Advances in sensors, filters and apertures are driving the evolution of multispectral imaging from expensive one-off systems for military and defense applications to affordable, practical, commercial systems for use in everything from... more>>


The Emerging Field of Correlation Optics

Correlation optics provides tools—both conceptual and experimental—for measuring various parameters of an optical field in partial coherence and polarization. This area of study could enable unique applications for industrial quality control, solid-state physics, medical diagnostics and ecological monitoring. more>>

Max Planck: Founder of Quantum Theory

Max Planck’s scientific career spanned some of the most turbulent times in German history—the Wilhelmian Empire, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. Through it all, he advanced and protected physics, with his own research evolving from theoretical physics that was firmly grounded in thermodynamics to his blackbody distribution law, which forced him to invoke non-classical ideas. more>>


A new design for metamaterial lenses allows the operating frequency to be scaled almost to the ultraviolet. more>>

A new laser emits coherent pulses at the short X-ray wavelength of 1.46 nm—in energy terms, that’s in the kiloelectronvolt regime. more>>

Femtosecond laser frequency combs have enabled many advances in metrology, from optical atomic clocks to the search for extrasolar planets. more>>

A group of researchers demonstrated that accurate polarization-based measurements can be achieved when the probe beam passes through an optical fiber of varying birefringence more>>


Optical Engineering

The Meaning and Measure of Lateral Resolution for Surface Profiling Interferometers

Optical interferometers for surface characterization provide detailed information about surface topography, and they carry specifications related to the ultimate resolving power for 3-D imaging. It is worthwhile for engineers to understand the meaning of these specifications and the methods for validating them. more>>

The History of OSA

Ira Sprague Bowen: Frederic Ives Medalist, 1952

Ira Bowen is remembered for his contributions to the fields of physics and astronomy. His research in ultraviolet spectroscopy provided a base for electron spin theory and solved the nebulium enigma. His mastery of applied optics gave us telescope designs that are still used to explore the universe. more>>