OPN January 2013

Cover Story

Zapping Mars: Using Lasers to Determine the Chemistry of the Red Planet

Noureddine Melikechi, Roger Wiens, Horton Newsom and Sylvestre Maurice

When NASA’s rover Curiosity landed successfully on Mars last August, it opened a new chapter in space exploration: the use of laser-based instruments to probe the surface of other planets. The nearly one-ton rover was designed to be a... more>>


Adolph Lomb: Patronage, Industry and Optics in Early 20th-Century America

Victoria N. Meyer

Adolph Lomb did not make any major discoveries or publish original works; yet his influence on early 20th century optics was monumental. Reminiscent of the wealthy princes and patrons of the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, he advanced optics by generously supporting the field—and the Society devoted to it. more>>

All about Sparkles

Alfred Cann

Sparkles are a magnificent manifestation of optics in nature, and nowhere are they as abundant as on freshly fallen snow. Because they evade our depth-perception mechanism, sparkles have an otherworldly quality that makes them seem to float indeterminately rather than appearing on any surface or at any altitude. more>>



Yvonne Carts-Powell, Sarah Michaud and Valerie Coffey

Headliners, policy news and industry updates. more>>


Career Focus

Learning to Teach

Arti Agrawal

Some instructors are naturals, but for most of us teaching is an acquired skill. Here’s why you can and should learn to do it. more>>

Global Optics

Optics at Peking University

Kebin Shi

Peking University, one of the most reputable universities in China, has boosted its optics research—which spans from fundamental physical optics to application-orientated areas such as nanophotonics, silicon photonics, optical communications and quantum optics. more>>

Optics Innovations

Thorlabs: Swimming in the Fast Lane

Alex Cable and Laurie Morgus

Thorlabs is taking a series of swift, precise strokes to meet its goals for aggressive growth. more>>

Conversations in Optics

Network Architect

Brielle Day

Nick McKeown is building the Internet of tomorrow. more>>