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FIRST PLACE

“Who knew something you eat every day could look so beautiful? Table salt (NaCl) imaged by polarization microscopy with a Nomarski prism.”

Erik A. Rodriguez, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

 

This image shows a number of optical phenomena, starting with a green laser (532-nm Nd:YAG) guided by a multimode silica optical fiber to a vial containing an organic dye

SECOND PLACE

“The High Amplification Laser pressure Optic (HALO) was developed by NIST to measure kilowatts of laser power with best-in-class accuracy. Here, optical power is determined by measuring the force a laser beam exerts when it is reflected by the HALO’s central mirror. Thirteen smaller mirrors redirect the beam towards the central mirror, multiplying the force and reducing the measurement uncertainty. This image was captured with a green HeNe laser, traced out with a white card to show the beam path.”

Aly Artusio-Glimpse, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD, USA

 

This image shows a number of optical phenomena, starting with a green laser (532-nm Nd:YAG) guided by a multimode silica optical fiber to a vial containing an organic dye

THIRD PLACE (Tie)

“The image shows a freeform hologram directly 3D printed onto the tip of a single-mode optical fiber (Optica 7, 1279 (2020)). The freeform hologram displays the logo ‘OSA The Optical Society,’ independent of distance into the far field. The illumination wavelength is 520 nm.”

Claudia Imiolczyk, Moritz Floess, Simon Thiele and Harald Giessen, University of Stuttgart, Germany

 

This image shows a number of optical phenomena, starting with a green laser (532-nm Nd:YAG) guided by a multimode silica optical fiber to a vial containing an organic dye

THIRD PLACE (Tie)

“A set of 5 X-cubes, illuminated by the white light from a phone torch. Whilst typically used for splitting collimated light into RGB components, combining multiple cubes and a diverging source results in a spectrum of colors.”

Kevin J. Mitchell, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

 

A multiplexing stream: The beams from three laser pointers of different wavelengths pass through a tank of water, and exit into a single water stream

HONORABLE MENTION

“Scanning electron microscopy image of brochosomes conformally coated with 10 nm of iridium by atomic layer deposition. Brochosomes are formed by insects to protect their wings from dirt and dust. These structures are only about 500 nm in diameter, very uniform, and complex.”

Paul Schmitt, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Applied Physics IAP, Jena, Germany

 

Water droplets on a flower adopt almost hemispherical shapes

HONORABLE MENTION

“Bright speckles intercepted on a piece of white paper after an azimuthally polarized femtosecond laser beam is focused into a glass slide, and captured by an iPhone 6. The demonstration shows the existence of laser-induced breakdown in glass.”

Zhijun Xu, College of Science, Zhejiang University of Technology, Zhejiang, China

 

Beetles from all over the world regard themselves in the mirror and find that they are all left-handed circularly polarized

HONORABLE MENTION

“This false-color image of a blue lace agate mineral sample, taken on a multiphoton microscope, highlights how beautiful nonlinear optics can be. The red color is from second-harmonic generation in the quartz mixed into this sample. The green color is from third-harmonic generation, which highlights the banded regions that give agate its characteristic appearance.”

Benjamin M. Cromey, Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO, USA

 

Top view of a soft-glass fiber preform while it is inside the furnace of a brand new 6-meter fiber fabrication draw tower facility (at DTU Fotonik)

HONORABLE MENTION

“When a high voltage is applied between two beakers filled with deionized water, a stable water thread known as a ‘floating water bridge’ can form between them. In this photograph, we activate the water bridge as an optical fiber by launching 770-nm laser light through the tapered fiber coupler on the right and collecting the light on the other side with a fiber lens coupler. The scattering is caused by capillary vibrations of the fiber.”

Mark Douvidzon, TechnionIsrael Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

 

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EDITORS' CHOICE

“Butterfly wings— a single snapshot taken with a gigapixel microscope.”

Ramona Optics, USA

For this year’s contest, OPN received 67 remarkable entries. We thank the panel of judges who provided insight on those images and helped select the winners: Felipe Beltrán-Mejía, Rocío Borrego-Varillas, Laura Coyle, Jennifer Kruschwitz, Anne Matsuura, Jelena Pesic, Arlene Smith and Joel Villatoro.

You can see all of this year’s contest entries online at www.osa-opn.org/contest/2020.