March 2021

Researcher Natalie Wheeler drawing optical-fiber at the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, U.K. [Courtesy of the University of Southampton]

Is Nothing Better Than Something?

Jeff Hecht

The idea of guiding light through hollow pipes dates to the 19th century, but solid-core fibers made much better optical waveguides. Now the emerging technology of hollow-core fibers has resurrected an old idea.


Silicon Carbide: From Abrasives to Quantum Photonics

Traditionally used for abrasives, LEDs and transistors, the material may enable scalable quantum and nonlinear photonics through direct integration of solid-state qubits into photonic circuits.

Tim’s Vermeer, Reconsidered

A recent documentary feature film, Tim’s Vermeer, proposes that Johannes Vermeer secretly used a catadioptric telescope and novel mirror–comparator procedure to create his sublime paintings of domestic interiors. How well does that bold hypothesis stand up to analysis?


Research and Industry News

Meeting the Future: Fiber

Spotlight on SciComm

Course-Correcting a Career in Optics

Lenses Go Liquid


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