Skulls in the Stars

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26 posts · 63,323 views

Physics, pulp fantasy and horror fiction, and a bit of politics

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26 posts

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  • November 20, 2008
  • 02:03 PM
  • 2,222 views

X-rays from Scotch tape?

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

One of the joys of physics, and science in general, is that even seemingly mundane objects occasionally yield physical surprises.  A great example of this made the news about a month ago: the observation that, under the right circumstances, x-rays can be generated by the peeling of Scotch tape!  The phenomenon is an extreme example [...]... Read more »

  • November 10, 2008
  • 03:11 PM
  • 1,959 views

Focusing through a ‘maze’ of strong scattering

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

One of the broad challenges in a lot of optical applications involving visible light is simply that most materials aren’t particularly transparent.  This is rather obvious, at a glance: materials can be strong absorbers of light, strong reflectors of light, or highly dispersive.  Even materials which do not suffer from these problems can still strongly [...]... Read more »

I. M. Vellekoop, & A. P. Mosk. (2008) Universal Optimal Transmission of Light Through Disordered Materials. Physical Review Letters, 101(12). DOI/10.1103/PhysRevLett.101.120601

  • October 8, 2008
  • 10:11 PM
  • 2,086 views

Optical coherence tomography and the art world

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

In recent years, scientific tools have been increasingly applied to the study of artwork, for numerous reasons: determination of authenticity, determination of provenance, analysis for restoration, or even for finding ‘hidden’ art buried behind or underneath existing masterworks.  Some time ago, Jennifer at Cocktail Party Physics wrote a fascinating post on the use of X-ray [...]... Read more »

P. Targowski, B. Rouba, M. Góra, L. Tymińska-Widmer, J. Marczak, & A. Kowalczyk. (2008) Optical coherence tomography in art diagnostics and restoration. Applied Physics A, 92(1), 1-9. DOI/10.1007/s00339-008-4446-x

  • August 20, 2008
  • 12:33 PM
  • 2,096 views

New ‘cloaking’ results? Not really, but interesting anyway

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

About a week ago, I reported on another ‘teaser’ in the media about ‘optical cloaks’, hypothetical devices which would in principle make objects contained in their core completely invisible. Such devices have gotten a lot of attention, both scientifically and in the press, since the publication of two fascinating theoretical papers in 2006. [...]... Read more »

J Yao, Z Liu, Y Liu, Y Wang, C Sun, G Bartal, A Stacy, & X Zhang. (2008) Optical Negative Refraction in Bulk Metamaterials of Nanowires. Science, 321(5891), 930-930. DOI/10.1126/science.1157566

Jason Valentine, Shuang Zhang, Thomas Zentgraf, Erick Ulin-Avila, Dentcho Genov, Guy Bartal, & Xiang Zhang. (2008) Three-dimensional optical metamaterial with a negative refractive index. Nature. DOI/10.1038/nature07247

  • August 13, 2008
  • 01:27 PM
  • 1,976 views

The cloaking craze: A look at the original papers

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

As I noted a couple of days ago, apparently there has been another significant experimental breakthrough in the development of dielectric cloaking devices. Researchers at UC Berkeley were responsible, though it is a little unclear what exactly the breakthrough is. The results will appear this week in Science and Nature. In the [...]... Read more »

U Leonhardt. (2006) Optical Conformal Mapping. Science, 312(5781), 1777-1780. DOI/10.1126/science.1126493

J Pendry. (2006) Controlling Electromagnetic Fields. Science, 312(5781), 1780-1782. DOI/10.1126/science.1125907

  • July 26, 2008
  • 12:05 AM
  • 2,335 views

Freezing images in an atomic vapor!

by gg in Skulls in the Stars


I thought I’d step out of my comfort zone and specific field of expertise for once and do a post on some interesting quantum optics. In a June issue of Physical Review Letters, an Israeli research group experimentally demonstrated the ability to store and retrieve optical images in an atomic vapor using so-called ‘electromagnetically ... Read more »

M Shuker, O Firstenberg, R Pugatch, A Ron, & N Davidson. (2008) Storing Images in Warm Atomic Vapor. Physical Review Letters, 100(22). DOI/10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.223601

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