Submitted by Stuart Watson on Tue, 06/10/2009 - 19:58
The Nobel Prize committee, which each year awards prizes for achievements in the sciences and humanities, have this year given their recognition to the role of optics in transforming the world of information technology.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sun, 21/06/2009 - 17:26
Last week NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). The LRO mission will map the lunar surface in greater detail than ever before, while LCROSS hurtles toward our nearest neighbour on a collision course, to deliver the scientific version of a double jab, two rapid blows that may uncover the existence of water on our otherwise rocky neighbour.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sun, 05/04/2009 - 18:01
Researchers in the US have come up with a way of improving the sensitivity of metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) photodetectors without compromising their performance in terms of speed. They accomplished this by modifying the area around the detector to produce a plasmonic lens, which enables it to detect more of the incoming light1,2.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Fri, 03/04/2009 - 15:12
If you want to squeeze more electricity from your solar cells, try keeping them clean for a start. The Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, know all about that: their power is significantly diminished when layers of dust build up on their solar panels, which can only be removed by a fortuitous gust of wind. Here on Earth we have the advantage of rain and dew, which can facilitate the removal of dirt and dust, allowing more light to be absorbed and converted into electricity.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Mon, 30/03/2009 - 15:40
There was a time when nature dictated the behaviour of light, making sure it followed a few simple rules which clever people like Newton and Fraunhoufer came to understand, enabling them to take control of light with such marvels as the reflecting telescope and the diffraction grating. The clever people of today, however, are turning those well established rules on their heads and manipulating light in ways never before seen in nature. The future is one of super lenses and invisibility cloaks, all made possible by meta-materials, and these complex materials could soon be far easier to make.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sat, 14/03/2009 - 16:37
My pick of the stories from the news wires this past week include the early detection of retinal damage in the eye, metamaterials made from nano-sized cups, and putting the brakes on light... with doughnuts.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Fri, 06/03/2009 - 22:20
While I was leafing through the news stories of the past week, looking for something big in the world of optics, I received a press release about something really big: the world's largest laser is now complete. Read on for the full press release from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sun, 01/03/2009 - 22:30
There was a lot of medical science news this past week, featuring safer nano-particles for imaging tumours, stimulating the circuits of the brain with light and a potentially faster way of getting your glasses fitted.