Cover Story

Plasmonic Communications: Light on a Wire

Juerg Leuthold and colleagues

By coupling light to the charges at metal interfaces, plasmonics enables scientists to manipulate photons in a way they never have before: at the subwavelength level. With its potential to produce ultra-compact devices that relay... more>>


ICAN: The Next Laser Powerhouse

Toshiki Tajima, William Brocklesby and Gérard Mourou

An international team of researchers is looking toward the next frontier of high-energy laser physics: building efficient, high–average-power lasers. With a revolutionary architecture that combines thousands of coherent fibers, the laser being developed under the ICAN project could transform nuclear medicine, detect nuclear waste and form the basis for the next great particle accelerator.


Light-Wave Mixing in Quantum Gases

L. Deng, E.W. Hagley, R.Q. Wang and C.W. Clark

Nonlinear optics has come a long way since the laser. This article reviews recent progress in coherent wave mixing and introduces some new concepts that will reframe future research directions.




Patricia Daukantas, Yvonne Carts-Powell, Valerie Coffey and Sarah Michaud

Headliners, policy news and industry updates.



Career Focus

Breaking into Academia

Brooke Hester and Hannah Bembia

One size doesn’t fit all.


Light Touch

Sandbow or Rainbow?

Stephen R. Wilk

Water droplets and ice crystals create beautiful rainbows that paint the sky. Can other natural particles produce similar arcs of color?


Picoprojector Technologies: Seeing the Big Picture

Ian Wallhead, Roberto Ocaña, Tomi Jouhti and Vili Sikio

Picoprojectors seem to offer the impossible: They are as small as a mobile phone with a screen at least as big as a laptop. This article compares four commercial devices.


Reflections in Diversity

Combatting Stereotype Threat

Anthony M. Johnson

Anthony M. Johnson talks about an insidious obstacle for women and minority scientists.


Conversations in Optics

Laser Hall-of-Famer: C. Kumar N. Patel

Brielle Day

The recent U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee will deliver a plenary talk at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO: 2013), 9-14 June in San Jose, Calif. (U.S.A.).