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Looking Beyond 5G

Even as 5G wireless moves into the mainstream, technologists are already looking ahead to the next generation—6G, expected to come on stream in the 2030s. [July/August 2020]

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Explore Science Virtually

The effort to contain COVID-19 has many millions around the globe working and learning from home. [May 2020]

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Funding Global Health

The global impact of the current coronavirus outbreak highlights the importance of scientific research in maintaining world health. [April 2020]

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Artificial Intelligence

The field of AI is expanding rapidly. Here we look at some statistics for global AI research, investment and inclusion. [March 2020]

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Toward Exawatt Power

With up to 10 petawatts of peak laser power, the EU’s three ELI facilities include the most powerful lasers to date. A planned fourth ELI pillar and a few other high-intesity laser projects could boost peak power even further, reaching the exawatt scale. [January 2020]

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Optics in 2020 & Beyond

Each December, OPN looks at interesting research results of the past year. But what about the year ahead? We asked several contributors to our "Optics in 2019" feature for thoughts on areas that might advance in 2020. [December 2019]

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Rising Ocean Levels

The global ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains around 97% of the Earth’s water. Even a small change in the ocean levels—for example, from rapidly melting ice sheets—can have a significant impact. [November 2019]

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Ready to Print in 3-D?

Thanks to lower prices and increased availability for desktop 3-D printers, now might be the time to try 3-D printing at home. [October 2019]

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Nano in Our Food

The addition of nanoparticles to food has the potential to improve food quality, safety and nutrition. However, because of their small size, there is also the risk that ingested nanoparticles could damage cells or organs. [July/August 2019]

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Global S&E Doctorates

Since 2000, the number of internationally mobile students has more than doubled to 5 million worldwide—representing 26% of enrollment in doctoral programs. [June 2019]

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Extremely Large Telescopes

The next generation of ground-based infrared telescopes will have resolving power far beyond what is available today. [May 2019]

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Cancer: A Growing Global Concern

Global data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2018. [April 2019]

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5G: Unmatched Connectivity

The tremendous speed and low latency of 5G will allow users to respond to ever-increasing volumes of data, and to remain connected around the clock to a world of devices beyond computers and phones. [March 2019]

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Perfecting Smartphone Photos

The back of your mobile phone may soon be covered with tiny lenses that take simultaneous images that are computationally stitched together for new effects and capabilities. [February 2019]

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Animal Vision: Seeing Color

Color perception in animals has evolved to help in collecting information about the environment—from recognizing food sources to selecting mates. [January 2019]

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Scientific Research: A Global Production

Over the past decade, production of research-based science and engineering knowledge has grown worldwide. Here we look at the top article-producing countries and international collaborators. [December 2018]

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Spectroscopy & the Nobel

Since the Nobel Prize was established in 1895, a surprising number of the awards have gone to advances related to or enabled by spectroscopy. [October 2018]

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Photonics for Health & Earth

As part of this month’s special issue on photonics in Europe, here we look at some ways photonics could help solve major challenges facing Europe and the world by 2030, as outlined in a vision document by the European technology platform Photonics21. [September 2018]

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Robot Ready

Preparing for an AI and robotic future requires investments in education and innovation. [July/August 2018]

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Phytoplankton and Climate Change

Phytoplankton are the ocean’s primary producers, basic food source and carbon recycler—even a slight change in their productivity could affect the world’s climate. [June 2018]

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The Laser: Expanding our World

When Theodore Maiman successfully operated the first laser on 16 May 1960, it was impossible to imagine how integral lasers would one day become to our daily lives. [May 2018]

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Investing in the Brain

As the world population ages, knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases is becoming increasingly important. [April 2018]

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Optics & Art: Revealing the Hidden Truth

Noninvasive optical scanning methods are also being used to reveal hidden layers in artworks, and to help confirm creation dates and authenticity without risk of damage. [March 2018]

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Quantum Technology: Funding the Future

McKinsey & Co. estimates that combined worldwide spending on nonclassified quantum-technology research amounted to around some €1.5 billion in 2015. Here’s how those numbers were distributed globally. [February 2018]

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A Global Astronomy Event

In the seconds, hours and days after LIGO and Virgo detected gravitational waves from a neutron star collision on 17 August, some 70 gamma-ray, X-ray, optical and radio telescopes detected signals from the same event—kicking off the era of multi-messenger astronomy. [December 2017]

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Laser Power

Laser power spans many orders of magnitude—from the microwatt beams of some continuous-wave (CW) lasers, to the European Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), whose femtosecond-scale pulses can deliver petawatt peak power. [October 2017]

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An IoT-Connected World

How the emerging Internet of Things could change life from the home to the roadway to the farm to the factory floor. [September 2017]

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Lidar: Uncovering Lost Cities

With the aid of drones and light detection and ranging (lidar) technology, researchers are uncovering new insights on ancient civilizations. [June 2017]

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Observing the TRAPPIST-1 System

Next-gen telescopes are poised to explore whether an intriguing, newly discovered system could potentially harbor life. [May 2017]