September 2004

Lasers and the Fine Art of Art Conservation

Daniel Dawes

As lasers become cheaper, safer and more precise, the time is finally ripe for laser ablation cleaning to be incorporated into the conservator’s arsenal of tools.

Toward Practical Fiber Optical Parametric Amplifiers and Oscillators

Advances in fiber optical parametric amplifiers (OPAs) may lead to practical applications in areas that include optical communications and high-power wavelength conversion.

Phakic Intraocular Lenses: The New Focus in Refractive Surgery

Phakic intraocular lenses represent the next major stage in the ongoing refractive surgery revolution. Thin, foldable and removable, these lenses can be inserted under local anesthetic as part of an outpatient procedure that is relatively easy to perform.

Manipulating the Near Field With Metamaterials

New technology is enabling scientists to engineer a class of electromagnetic materials on a scale of much less than a wavelength. The new materials have properties not seen in nature—such as a negative refractive index—which are the key to controlling the near field.

Quantum Information Processing Based On Optically Driven Semiconductor Quantum Dots

It may one day be possible to use arrays of quantum dots driven by ultrafast laser pulses to carry out quantum information processing. The article reviews recent experimental progress in the area of coherent optical control of single dots and outlines a plan for further research.

Lasing Action in Air Induced by Ultrafast Laser Filamentation

Backscattered fluorescence from nitrogen molecules from filaments induced by intense, ultrafast Ti:sapphire laser pulses increases exponentially with an increase in the length of the filament. This shows that the fluorescence undergoes amplified spontaneous emission along the filament direction, a finding that could have applications in lightning discharge control and remote sensing.

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