24 April 2014
Image of the Week
Table of Contents
OPN Image Galleries
Image of the Week
After Images Gallery
THG image of myelin
Third-harmonic generation (THG) image of myelin, the material that forms the sheath around neuronal axons, in a coronal section of the mouse spinal cord. Myelin’s large third-order susceptibility relates to its high lipid content. — Matthew J. Farrar and Chris B. Schaffer, Cornell University
Production of femtosecond UV-pulses. — Thorsten Naeser, Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Munich, Germany — Thorsten Naeser, Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Munich, Germany
Wave Clouds and Halo
Wave Clouds and Halo— Joseph A. Shaw, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana — Joseph A. Shaw, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
A high-speed steel marble hits a glass plate and forms an isogyre pattern on the glass. The plate is between two crossed polarizers, so it shows the shock-induced birefringence. — Alan Sailer, California, U.S.A. — Alan Sailer, California, U.S.A.
Display of holiday lights at Shore Acres State Park, Ore., U.S.A. Over 200,000 LEDS are on display throughout the park, both above ground and under water. — Robert E. Schalck, Senior OSA Member, U.S.A.
2013 After Image photo contest winner
Winner of the 2013 After Image photo contest. —Zhijun Xu, Nankai University, China.
Polarization of a Plastic Spoon
Polarization of a plastic spoon segment. —Katy Wood, Texas, U.S.A.
2-D Crystal Lattice
Part of a 2-D crystal lattice containing 300 trapped beryllium ions and viewed using fluorescence at 313 nm in an ion crystal, which is spinning at 43.800 kHz. The ion separation of 20 mm is a balance between trapping forces and Coulomb repulsion. The lattice is being studied for quantum simulations.—Joe Britton, NIST, U.S.A.
Refraction and diffraction
Water drop on the back of a compact disc. — Anthony T. Clutter, University of Arizona, U.S.A. Honorable Mention OPN 2011 Photo Contest
Interference contrast image of unintentional and apparently destructive etching of an AlGaAs/GaAs superlattice on a GaAs wafer by hydrogen chloride, which penetrated a 100-nm-thick GaAs capping layer. —Wolfgang Stumpf, ETH Zurich
Reflection of Sunlight
Dance of elegant colors from sunlight reflection off the sculptured rocks in Antelope Canyon of Arizona (U.S.A.). — Yuhong Yao, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester
African Clawed Frog
Confocal tile scan of Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog) tadpole (10x). —Tong Zhang, McGill University, Canada, Nikon Small World Competition, 2009 Image of Distinction
This art represents a coherent (laser-like) X-ray pulse with the largest color spread generated to date. Such rainbows of color can support extremely short, few-attosecond light pulses, which are invisible to the human eye but important for capturing the ultrafast dynamics in materials and nanosystems. —Tenio Popmintchev, JILA, University of Colorado at Boulder
Rare singular altocumulus cloud at sunset in Santa Barbara. 18 mm f.l. lens.—Samuel F. Pellicori, Pellicori Optical consulting, U.S.A.
The photo shows 32 superimposed images of plasma discharging in a tube, which were then subjected to a polar coordinate transformation. The initial plasma discharging was recorded at the Swiss Science Center Technorama.—Dan Curticapean, University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, Germany
Winner of the 2012 After Image photo contest
Laser beams of three primary colors are guided inside streams of liquid into a ceramic bowl, where they combine to form white light (vertical crop). —Alexander R. Albrecht, University of New Mexico
Tracing Star Twinkling
Scintillation and telescope jitter are recast into a beautiful image. A telephoto lens was wiggled slightly to capture a 5-s exposure of the star Sirius on 4 January 2012. As the star‘s twinkling image skated around the focal plane, it traced graceful, colorful arcs. Twinkling is the rapid fluctuation in brightness and color of a star due to changes in the density of air pockets. —David K. Lynch, Thule Scientific
Approaching the critical angle. A green laser pointer shines through a jar of water doped with traces of highlighter fluid. This is an effective way to demonstrate refraction, scattering and total internal reflection. —Matthew E. Anderson, San Diego State University
Green Flash and Super Moon
On May 6 the much-touted super moon, the largest full moon of 2012, rose over this peaceful harbor near the La Perdrix lighthouse on the coast of Brittany, France. The rise of the moon was preceded by a green flash, captured in the first frame of a time lapse video recorded that night. This two-second exposure shows the strongly colored flash to the left of the lighted buoy near the center. Green flashes for the sun and moon are caused by atmospheric refraction enhanced by long, low sight lines and strong atmospheric temperature gradients often favored by a sea horizon. —Laurent Laveder, www.pixheaven.net
A huge bubble imaged by Myles Duffy at Gaudi's Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain. —Myles Duffy
Upright and inverted multi-reflection images of a woman’s face on teacup bubbles. Published in OPN, June 2012. —Ahmet Coskun, department of electrical engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
The optical activity of dextrose creates the colorful bottom picture. The colors are displayed in the places where linearly polarized light moves through varying paths of normally colorless corn syrup. Cellophane in the strips around the bottle further rotates the polarization vector. Published in OPN, May 2012. —Carlos López-Mariscal, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Hand of God
Numerous crepuscular rays—which might be the shadows of the Alps projected on the clouds—can be seen across Switzerland’s Neuchâtel lake before sunrise on 9 January 2012. Published in OPN, April 2012.— Gaël Osowiecki, Eric Logean and Myun-Sik Kim, EPFL Optics and Photonics Technology Lab, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Close-up of half waveplate for terahertz wave built by Benedikt Scherger of the Philipps University Marburg. Published in OPN, March 2012. Photo by Christian Stein
Full Moon Grating
Image of a full moon taken on 22 September 2010 with a simple transmission grating in front of a camera lens. Jupiter is apparent below the moon and slightly to the right. --Robert Schalck, Hardin Optical Company, U.S.A.
Light synthesizer in which three constituent colors of a pulse are adjusted in phase and amplitude and recombined (Wirth et al. Science Express, 8 2011). Thorsten Naeser, Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Garching, Germany
Lasers and Lithography
Fluorescence effect excited by a continuous-wave laser emitting at 325 nm into a quantum-dot-embedded polydimethylsiloxane “calice.” The microstructure was fabricated through novel 3-D lithography. The research group of the CNR-Isituto, Nazionale di Ottica of Napoli, Italy
Optical Mobius Strip
Optical Möbius strip: A string recorded under colored illumination right before realizing a standing wave; the photograph was then transformated into polar coordinates. Dan Curticapean, University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, Germany
Rug laser: Narrow band, yellow amplified spontaneous emission of red rug fibers, excited by the nanosecond, first harmonic green light of a Q-switched Nd-YAG laser. Dr. Zoltán György Horváth, Laser Physics Department, RISP, Budapest, Hungary
One Wasp, Two Views
Wasp under ambient and coherent light illumination. Picture taken by Nelson S. Winkler, Ilyas A. Saytashev and Kristen Zuraski from the Dantus research group at Michigan State University.
An ingenious 10-s exposure from a swinging camera recorded the gyrating trails of Regulus, the alpha star of the constellation Leo (left), and the wandering planet Mars (right). Regulus and Mars were at about the same apparent brightness on 4 June 2010. Juergen Michelberger, Lauffen, Germany
Rainbow over Everest
A rainbow cloud dwarfs Mt. Everest in the Himalayas. The phenomenon is caused by light reflecting off tiny ice crystals inside the body of the cloud’s water vapor. Oleg Bartunov, Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow
Rare elliptical halo captured around a lamp post in Finland. Most sun haloes are circular, and they surround the sun when sunbeams hit ice crystals in the air. Elliptical haloes are less well understood; one theory is that they are formed by hexagonal plate-shaped crystals with blunt pyramid-shaped ends. Olli Leivo, Lahti, Finland
Art created using sunlight refracted through ordinary objects, including transparent goblets, chandelier crystals and ashtrays. The photographer captured images of sunlight refracting through them onto a white surface in a dark room.--Published in April OPN 2011. Image courtesy of George Lourake, www.intheprism.com
Fruit Fly Photoreceptors
Photoreceptors (green) and segment markers (red) in fruit fly larva. These recently discovered photoreceptors assist in light avoidance. --Published in March OPN 2011. See Yang Xiang et al., Nature 468, 961 (2010). Image courtesy of Chun Han, UCSF
Multicolored laser rings generated from a femtosecond supercontinuum fiber source and an axicon. --Published in February OPN 2011. Matthew E. Anderson, San Diego State University
Sand Dunes on Mars
Large sand dunes on the floor of Proctor Crater on Mars. The image was captured by the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter—a robot spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars. --Published in January OPN 2011. HiRISE, MRO, U. Ariz., NASA
The photoemission of electrons by an attosecond light pulse (blue beam) is time-resolved by controlling the electron motion with an ultrashort visible laser pulse (red beam). This attosecond streaking uncovers that electrons from different atomic orbitals are released with a delay comparable to the atomic unit of time. --Published in December OPN 2010. Thorsten Naeser and Christian Hackenberger
Rainbow in fresh water drops is extended by a rainbow in sea water spray below the horizon. The slightly larger index of refraction of salt water causes the radius of its rainbow to be one degree less than that of the fresh-water bow.--Published in October OPN 2010. Photograph taken by J. Dijkema in 1981 in the Pacific Ocean, 500 km SE of Japan © G.P. Können.
Fiber and Mandrel
Optical fiber and a mandrel used to convert the mode from the core to a whispering-gallery mode and back again. This allows the fiber to be bent to the breaking point in the central region without large optical loss. --Published in OPN September 2010. See Lei Yao, T.A. Birks and J.C. Knight, Opt. Express 17, 2962 (2009). Image courtesy of Jonathan Knight, University of Bath.
Diffraction on Hologram
Far-field diffraction pattern of a helium-neon laser incident on a binary amplitude hologram with an embedded-helical phase, as projected by a lens on a black cardboard. The zeroth and first-order diffractions were overexposed to show the second order. Other artifacts were a consequence of the hologram printing process (laser printing on an acetate). --Published in OPN July/August 2010. Nath Hermosa National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines Diliman
Fun with Laser Pointers
This photograph, which was taken in 2010, combines images from red and green laser pointers that were simultaneously transmitted through textured window glass and projected onto white paper approximately a meter away. --Published in OPN May 2010. Jeremy Brouillet and Elsa Garmire, Dartmouth College
Circular shape diffraction pattern by a diffractive optical element of a 1st kind, zero order with circular symmetry Bessel function. It is possible to see higher diffraction orders because of the 5-s exposure time. --Published in OPN April 2010. Giuseppe Cirino Department of Electrical Engineering University of São Paulo at São Carlos, Brazil
Reflection and Refraction
Reflection and refraction of a red laser beam on an air-water interface. --Published in OPN March 2010. Félix Dieu, Gaël Osowiecki 2009
Refracted Laser Light
Refracted laser light taken on 4 x 5 transparency film using argon and helium-neon lasers. --Published in OPN February 2010. Janis D. Berry Sunnyvale, Calif., U.S.A.
The Photonic under UV
The photonic, the signature drink of IONS North America, under ultraviolet illumination. The bright blue color is due to quinine, an alkaloid used as a fluorescence standard and a common ingredient in tonic water.--Published in OPN December 2009. Carlos Lopéz-Mariscal National Institute of Standards and Technology
Fun with Spherical Mirrors
Gabriela Dodge shakes hands with herself in front of an enormous spherical mirror on display at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The mirror, salvaged from an old flight simulator, is about 3.4 m wide and 2.5 m tall, with a 3.2 m radius of curvature. The photo is shown upside-down. --Published in OPN October 2009. Steve Dodge, Simon Fraser University
Seeing Triple: This year the graduating class of the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics included a triple threat. In May, Robert, Daniel and Greg Balonek became the first triplets to receive a B.S. in optics from the Institute in its 80-year-history. (Robert, Daniel and Greg are pictured from left to right…we think.) The Baloneks comprised nearly 20 percent of the Institute's 16 graduates for 2009. --Published in OPN September 2009. Betsy Benedict
Dark field illuminated microscopic (40x) image of a mix of immobilized gold (orange dots) and dust (white dots) in water. --Published in OPN July 2009. Arpad Jakab, Institute for Physical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
Optics at Work
Simultaneous manifestation of physical and geometric optics. --Published in OPN June 2009. Dragan Petrovic Scientist/Principal Engineer Honeywell International
This fractured spin-on-glass coating on a sapphire substrate shows interference patterns after baking. ---Published in OPN May 2009. Dr. Wei Li Department of physics and astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Photomicrograph of marine diatoms (200x). Published in OPN April 2009. Michael Stringer 1st place, Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition
A laser beam probes the night sky over Mauna Loa, with Mauna Kea in the background. --Published in OPN March 2009. Joseph Shaw, Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., U.S.A.
This print was made by sculpting optically active achromatic plastic exposed with polarized light. --Published in OPN February 2009. Carol Pfeffer www.carolpfeffer.com
Near-field image of rotating traveling-wave modes in a vertical cavity surface emission. --Published in OPN January 2009. Ray-Kuang Lee, National Tsing-Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
The polarized light from a monitor and the camera close to the Brewster's angle, makes the reflected image sensitive to phase delays in the plastic lenses, producing a nice colored pattern.--Published in OPN November 2008 Osvaldo Buccafusca, Avago Technologies, Fort Collins, Colo., U.S.A.
Nematic liquid crystal confined to a TEM grid (10X).--Published in OPN May 2008 Sarah Teren, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
A plastic protractor and triangles between crossed polarizers. The different colors are due to photoelasticity.--Published in OPN April 2008 Carlos Lopez-Mariscal, NIST
Soap bubbles in water (10x), captured using differential interference contrast microscopy.--Published in OPN March 2008 Kathleen Llorens, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Photo courtesy of Nikon Instruments Inc.
Optical Gaussian Beam
High definition reconstruction of the amplitude (up) and phase (down) of an optical Gaussian beam with four optical vortices embedded on it.--Published in OPN in February 2008 Gabriel Molina TerrizaI, CFO, Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Parc Mediterrani de la Tecnologia
White Light Diffraction
Diffraction pattern generated by white light incident on a diffractive jewel, a metalized silicon substrate etched with many tens of diffractive facets.--Published in OPN January 2008 Thomas W. Mossberg, LightSmyth Technologies Inc.
Transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana (tobacco) plant magnified 10 times.--Published in OPN November 2007Heiti Paves, Tallinn, Estonia 5th Place, Nikon Small World Competition 2006
Farfield spectra of ultershort laser pulse filaments. Winner of the 2007 After Image photo contest.--Published in OPN October 2007Daniele Faccio of Como, Italy.
Each image is a composite of the day side of Venus (left, in blue, taken in visible light at 380 nm) and the night side (right, in red, taken in infrared light at 1.7 µm).--Published in OPN September 2007ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESI
False-color composite imageof Lake Carnegie in Western Australia, made using shortwave infrared, infrared and red wavelengths.--Published in OPN July/August 2007Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor, NASA, May 19, 1999
Pupil of a Macrobrachium amazonicum (freshwater shrimp) magnified 20 times.--Published in OPN June 2007 Alex H. Griman, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 11th Place, Nikon Small World Competition 2006
An icy crown for a desert palm tree. The 22 degree halo is caused by reflection and refraction of sunlight in ice crystals.--Published in OPN May 2007Joseph A. Shaw, Director of the Optical Technology Center at Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont.
April 2007: Close-up view of scales from a moth's forewing, captured using Nomarski interference contrast illumination.--Published in OPN April 2007 Thomas Eisner, Cornell University
An object made from UV fluorescent plastics is illuminated by ultraviolet light (also known as dark light) and emits light in the visible range.--Published in OPN March 2007Andriy Rybas, V. Karazin Kharkov National University OSA Student Chapter
This photo was taken through the infrared filter B+W IR093, which blocks visible light.-Published in OPN February 2007Andriy Rybas, V. Karazin Kharkov National University OSA Student Chapter
The Sun in UV
The Sun in three colors of ultraviolet light. Colorful portions pinpoint the Sun's hottest and most violent areas.--Published in OPN January 2007TRACE Project, Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research, NASA
Crystals under Polarized Light
Emodin, an orange-red crystalline substance, obtained from rhubarb, melted with allobarbital (50x) using polarized light.--Published in OPN November 2006Lars Bech, Naarden, The Netherlands
"Cloud Gate" sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor near the entry to Chicago's Millennium Park, also known as the "Bean".--Published in OPN October 2005 Alice Markham, OSA Publications Department
Part of an impact crater on Mars, captured by a pair of visible-wavelength images together with numerous infrared ones from NASA's Odyssey spacecraft.--Published in OPN September 2006 NASA/JPL/ASU, www.nasa.gov
Deformation of a polyethylene folio, 40x polarized light.--Published in OPN July 2006Zdenka Jenikova Czech Technical University Prague, Czech Republic
Reflected Flower Beetles
U.S. flower beetle Plusiotus beyeri and its reflection in a plane mirror. With a left-circular polarization filter (upper) and a filter for right-circular polarization (lower).--Published in OPN June 2006 Ian Hodgkinson
True color digital photograph of blue plasma light, captured by a camera that was tossed horizontally with lens axis rotation.--Published in OPN May 2006 Ryan Gallagher, Artist & Photographer, Austin, Texas www.kineticphotography.net, http://cameratoss.blogspot.com
Geranium flower (20x), captured using microscopy and digital photography.--Published in OPN April 2006Dr. Shumel Silberman, Ramat Gan, Israel
Sweeping crepuscular rays created by cloud shadows in scattered sunlight.--Published in OPN March 2006Joseph A. Shaw, Bozeman, Mont.
This darkfield photomicrograph of the diatom Arachnoidiscus ehrenbergi was captured on an Olympus microscope.--Published in OPN February 2006Michael W. Davidson, Mortimer Abramowitz, Olympus America Inc. and The Florida State University
The Sombrero Galaxy
In May-June 2003, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the Sombrero galaxy.--Published in OPN January 2006 NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Starry Night or Plant Hairs?
Tiny star-shaped hairs on the underside of a plant's leaf called trichomes.--Published in OPN December 2005Stephanie Schüller
Combined image of Kepler's supernova remnant from the Hubble Space Telecope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.--Published in OPN November 2005NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University)
October 2005: Glandular hair on leaf of the carnivorous plant Drosera (Sundew). Captured in brightfield at 50x.--Published in OPN October 2005Ales Kladnik, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Laser and Mirrors
Abstract laser image created using mirrors, optical fiber and other passive components as well as 30 different lasers.--Published in OPN September 2005Marvin Neer, Brighton, Colo.
Silkworm trachea.--Published in OPN May 2008Ian Walker, Huddersfield, United Kingdom
A $10 bill is pictured at four zooms: 1x, 5x, 100x and 300x. Optical interference produces different colors at different viewing angles.--Published in OPN May 2005Larry Anderson, Encinitas, Calif.
Fractal reflections of colored lights and the photographer in a tetrahedron of tangent spherical mirrors.---Published in OPN April 2005Oscar Einzig
Epidermal peel from an oat leaf (magnified 100 times). Phase contrast with Rheinberg filters.--Published in OPN March 2005Rene Van Wezel, Aylesford, United Kingdom
Color image of a mouse's suprachiasmatic nuclei, a small organ in the middle of the brain.--Published in OPN February 2005Daniela Lupi and Russell Foster
Soap Film Interference
Interference image of a microscopic flow pattern in draining soap film (magnification x 15).--Published in OPN January 2005Tsutomu Seimiya,Tokyo Metropolitan University
Fresnel to Fraunhofer
Transition From Fresnel to Fraunhofer Diffraction (Top) Calculated irradiance in the region beyond an evenly illuminated two-level phase grating. (Bottom) Experimental irradiance data for this grating in a beam focused by a 250-mm focal length lens.--Published in OPN October 2004
Three-dimensional image of human bone, 460 µm x 612 µm field of view.--Published in OPN September 2004Veeco Instruments Inc.
A cholesteric liquid crystal layer (1.5 mm wide) observed between crossed polarizers.--Published in OPN August 2004Christian Bohley, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Golgi bodies in a muntjac skin cell.--Published in OPN July 2004Molecular Probes Inc.
Earth from the Moon
Image of Earth taken by the far UV camera/spectrograph left on the moon by the crew of Apollo 16.--Published in OPN June 2006G. Carruthers (Naval Research Laboratory) and NASA
Rare, twisted-profile lunar corona observed in Tucson, Ariz., between January and March 1979.--Published in OPN May 2004Giuseppe Molesini, Florence, Italy
A binucleate bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cell.--Published in OPN April 2004Molecular Probes Inc.
Optics and Art
Researchers used frequency-swept sound to probe for faults in this half-meter section of a 19th-century fresco on a church wall in Papenburg, Germany.--Published in OPN March 2004Klaus Hinsch, Gerd Gülker and Holger Joost, Oldenburg, Germany
The first color image of Mars taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on the robotic field geologist Spirit.--Published in OPN February 2004NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Cornell University
In this satellite image, a vast alluvial fan spans the desert landscape between the Kunlun and Altun mountains in China's Xinjiang province.--Published in OPN January 2004USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch
Complex multi-modes observed by Alan White in the output of an early red helium-neon laser. --Published in OPN January 2010. Alan White, Berkeley Heights, N.J.
Steel nozzles in the chamber of an attosecond beamline extend like stalactites into this setup. Physicists focus infrared (IR) 3.5-fs pulses on the left gas nozzle, which excites the neon gas being emitted, giving it a red fluorescence. The right nozzle emits argon, which produces blue fluorescence. The excited gas atoms produce pulses in the ultraviolet (~250 nm) and extreme ultraviolet (8 nm) spectrum. --Published in OPN June 2010. Thorsten Naeser Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Garching, Germany
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