June 2003

One Boy’s Auroral Expedition

Dennis W. Fantone

Take a high school student with a fascination for the sciences, a yen for travel and some sophisticated equipment on loan from a professional photographer. Transport to Iceland, one of the best sites for viewing the aurora borealis.

Optical Metrology Enables New Generation of Fuel Injectors

The auto industry has long been driven by demands for better fuel economy and lower emissions. In Europe, these forces have led to the renaissance of the diesel engine. The latest generation of passenger car diesels is clean, efficient and powerful. These improvements have been enabled in part by advances in optical metrology.

The Telescopes of Seventeenth-Century Italy

The seventeenth century was an important period of development for optical instruments. In 1600, the field was in its infancy. Fewer than 50 years later, a handful of inventors had created devices that were as perfectly optimized as available technologies would allow.

Nonlinear Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging of Structural Proteins in Living Tissues

Traditional nonlinear optical tools, such as second harmonic generation, third harmonic generation and coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy, are being used to image the morphology and organization of protein arrays in live cells and tissues.

A Quasiperiodic Approach to Ultrashort Pulses

To optically control atomic and molecular processes, it must be possible to shape the optical waveform with a high level of precision. This involves maximizing the number of phase-adjustable frequencies. The authors demonstrate a technique to multiplicatively increase the number of generated frequencies through the use of modulators in series.

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