Gamma rays reach beyond the limits of light

20.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Researchers have discovered a highly efficient way to produce high energy photon beams. The obtained energy is a billion times higher than the energy of photons in visible light. These high-intensity gamma rays significantly exceed all known limits, and pave the way towards new fundamental studies.

10 years of the trapped rainbow—the revolution of slow light

20.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

A decade on from suggesting light can be dramatically slowed - or even stopped - by new materials, Ortwin Hess reviews the progress and applications.

Using optical chaos to control the momentum of light

19.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Integrated photonic circuits, which rely on light rather than electrons to move information, promise to revolutionize communications, sensing and data processing. But controlling and moving light poses serious challenges. One major hurdle is that light travels at different speeds and in different phases in different components of an integrated circuit. For light to couple between optical components, it needs to be moving at the same momentum.

Researchers build a ‘billion sensors’ earthquake observatory with optical fibers

19.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Thousands of miles of buried optical fibers crisscross California's San Francisco Bay Area delivering high-speed internet and HD video to homes and businesses.

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

19.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Brown University researchers have demonstrated a way to bring a powerful form of spectroscopy—a technique used to study a wide variety of materials—into the nano-world.

Pushing the limit of thin-film absorption in solar and water-splitting applications

19.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

A silicon solar cell harvests the energy of the sun as light travels down through light-absorbent silicon. To reduce weight and cost, solar cells are thin, and while silicon absorbs visible light well, it captures less than half of the light in the near-infrared spectrum, which makes up one-third of the sun's energy. The depth of the material limits absorption. But what if light within the cell could be channeled horizontally so that silicon could absorb its energy along the width of the cell rather than its depth?

Research demonstrates method to alter coherence of light

18.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Brown University researchers have demonstrated for the first time a method of substantially changing the spatial coherence of light.

Scientists reach milestone in 3-D laser writing in bulk silicon

18.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

(Phys.org)—It has taken more than 20 years, but researchers have demonstrated for the first time that femtosecond lasers can be used to structurally manipulate bulk silicon for high-precision applications. Since the late '90s, researchers have been using the ultrashort pulses of femtosecond lasers to write into bulk materials with wide band gaps, which are typically insulators. But until now, precise ultrafast laser writing has not been possible for materials with narrow band gaps, such as silicon and other semiconductors.

New 3-D imaging technique for future precision medicine toolbox

18.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

For an illness like cancer, doctors often turn to computed tomography (CT) scans for a more definitive diagnosis, based on reconstructing a 3-D organ from multiple 2-D image slices. At the molecular level, such 3-D scans could become an important part of precision medicine: a future of tailoring treatment decisions to each patient's unique cellular features.

New imaging approach maps whole-brain changes from Alzheimer’s disease in mice

17.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

An estimated 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Although treatments can slow the worsening of symptoms, scientists are still working to better understand the neurodegenerative disease so that curative and preventative medicines can be developed. A new imaging system could help speed new drug development by offering a better way to monitor the brain changes indicative of Alzheimer's in mouse models of the disease.

Optical frequency comb offers a convenient way to generate elusive terahertz frequencies 

17.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Optical frequency combs are widely-used, high-precision tools for measuring and detecting different frequencies—a.k.a. colors—of light. Unlike conventional lasers, which emit a single frequency, these lasers emit multiple frequencies simultaneously. The equally spaced frequencies resemble the teeth of a comb. Optical frequency combs are used for everything from measuring the fingerprints of specific molecules to detecting distant exoplanets.

Scientists revisit optical constants of ultrathin gold films

17.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Researchers at MIPT have conducted highly precise measurements of the optical constants of ultrathin gold films with thicknesses ranging from 20 to 200 billionths of a meter in the optical part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thin gold films are key components of modern micro- and nanoscale optical and optoelectronic devices. The research findings will be in demand among researchers in the field. The paper was published in the journal Optics Express.

A miniature laser-like device for surface plasmons

17.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a miniature device capable of producing laser-like beams of a particular kind of electromagnetic wave called a surface plasmon. Surface plasmons can be focused much more tightly than light waves, making them useful for applications such as sensing.

Doubling the power of the world’s most intense laser

17.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

The most intense laser in the world is about to get a power upgrade with $2 million from the National Science Foundation.

Plasma optic combines lasers into superbeam

17.10. 2017 Optics & Photonics News - Optics, Photonics, Physics News

Since its introduction in the 1977 film "Star Wars," the Death Star has remained one of science fiction's most iconic figures. The image of Alderaan's destruction at the hands of the Death Star's superlaser is burned into the memory of millions of fans.