OPN November 2012

Cover Story

Thin-Film Photovoltaics: Making Every Photon Count

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Researchers are turning to organic and hybrid nanoscale structures to create more cost-effective solar cells. Thin-film photovoltaic technologies that incorporate silicon are among the best options for effectively managing light. more>>


Fifty Years of Visible LEDs

Patricia Daukantas

Originally a byproduct of the race to build a semiconductor laser, the visible light-emitting diode emerged in the fall of 1962. Following the “alloy road,” scientists have devised ever-brighter LEDs—and poised them to displace a century-old lighting technology. more>>

Bird Brains: Using Picosecond Optical Tomography to Assess Neural Activity

Stéphane Mottin and Bruno Montcel

Imaging the brains of birds with picosecond optical tomography gives scientists a fascinating look into how these animals respond to calls and songs—and insight into how the technology could be applied to humans. more>>


Mapping Matter

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Using infrared and X-ray lasers to reveal light’s effect on matter. more>>

Dark Energy Telescope Goes Deep

Sarah Michaud

For the next five years, the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, will be used to scan the depths of space for signs of dark energy. more>>

Identifying Cancer by its Blood Supply

Yvonne Carts-Powell

Using optical coherence tomography to image blood vessels. more>>

Tracking Zombie Bees with Lasers

Yvonne Carts-Powell

An ingenious system tracks individual bees with lasers and tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. more>>

Scared of the Needle? A Laser Could Help

Patricia Daukantas

A laser-powered drug-delivery device targets the skin layer above the nerve endings, so it should not cause the recipient any pain. more>>

Galaxies Far, Far Away

Astronomers have created a new portrait that reflects humankind’s deepest-ever view of the universe. more>>

U.S. Science Funding in Jeopardy

Sarah Michaud

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget released a report detailing the potential science funding reductions slated to go into effect 2 January 2013, barring an agreement in Congress on deficit reduction. more>>

Honoring Bright Ideas that Once Seemed Dim

A new award program shows that not all government-financed research is odd or pointless; in some cases, it transforms how we live. more>>


Global Optics

CIOMP: The Cradle of China’s Optics

Ming Xuan

The Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics celebrates 60 years of achievement. more>>

Optical Engineering

Stereoscopic Laser Projection Displays

David Volpe

Three-dimensional cinematic display techniques generally don’t translate well for laser projections. Wavelength multiplexing may optimize depth effects without the space limitations of those methods. more>>

Optics Innovations

Optics and Photonics at the Southwest Research Institute

Thomas Moore

A Texas nonprofit launches a multidisciplinary Center for Applied Optics and Photonics. more>>