May 1995

Breaking The Attosecond Barrier

Paul Corkum

Very short pulses of light enable researchers to probe never-before-observed phenomenon. Corkum describes how attosecond light pulses can be achieved.

Squeezed States: A Closer Look At The Amplitude And Phase Of Light

Generation and detection of non-classical states of light can now be routinely performed using various techniques. The simplest method: direct generation from a semiconductor laser, has recently attracted considerable attention because of potential applications and the underlying physics.

Lasers For Art's Sake!

Modern laser technology can be successfully used to improve the conservation, non-destructive diagnostics, and composition analysis of paintings. In particular, excimer lasers are promising tools for surface cleaning of paintings, cleaning support material, such as canvas, paper, or wood, and recovering original paintings from overpaintings. The technique is based on the controllable removal of surface layers by photoablation.

Optics In The Fishtank

Why is the sky blue? Why are sunsets red? How does light travel through optical fibers? To answer these questions and others, we brought out a secret weapon: the fishtank. Using a 10-gallon tank ($10) and an inexpensive laser pointer ($40) or a He-Ne laser, a flashlight, and a ruler, we can show many sophisticated effects ranging from waveguiding to Rayleigh scattering. The OSA student chapter at Northwestern University has performed these interactive demos at local high schools to encourage interest in optics.

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