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  • September 30, 2016
  • 05:33 PM
  • 445 views

Detecting atmospheric pollutants with laser filamentation

by Stuart in Optical Futures

A method for remotely detecting pollutants and other chemicals in the atmosphere has been demonstrated by physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, using laser-generated jets of plasma. Their laboratory experiments could pave the way to instruments used to monitor pollution levels high in the atmosphere, or for detecting hazardous biochemicals in an industrial process from a safe stand-off distance.... Read more »

Liang, H., Weerawarne, D., Krogen, P., Grynko, R., Lai, C., Shim, B., Kärtner, F., & Hong, K. (2016) Mid-infrared laser filaments in air at a kilohertz repetition rate. Optica, 3(7), 678. DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.000678  

  • August 23, 2016
  • 12:11 AM
  • 868 views

Measuring altitude — with clocks?

by Jens Wilkinson in It Ain't Magic

Measuring altitude using atomic clocks seems like a crazy idea, but it’s already being done at RIKEN in Japan.... Read more »

Takano, T., Takamoto, M., Ushijima, I., Ohmae, N., Akatsuka, T., Yamaguchi, A., Kuroishi, Y., Munekane, H., Miyahara, B., & Katori, H. (2016) Geopotential measurements with synchronously linked optical lattice clocks. Nature Photonics. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2016.159  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 01:29 PM
  • 1,020 views

Lizards Overcome Lack of Mirrors to Find Rocks That Match Their Colors

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Think about the last time you stood squinting in front of a full-length mirror, trying to decide whether the colors in your outfit went together. Now imagine you're a reptile, and you wouldn't even understand a mirror if you saw one, but somehow you need to find a rock that matches your skin color. Otherwise you might get eaten by a bird today. Oh, and the skin color you need to match is on your back.

Certain lizards in Greece manage to pull this off every day, though how they do it is a ... Read more »

  • January 7, 2016
  • 05:14 PM
  • 224 views

High frame rate photoacoustic tomography

by Stuart in Optical Futures

New research demonstrates the use of a pulsed laser diode in photoacoustic tomography, a technique that uses light pulses to generate sound waves in a sample, which are then detected by an ultrasound detector and from which images can be produced computationally. Due to the higher pulse rate of this laser compared with those typically used, it was possible to image a dynamic system with frame rates up to 7000 frames per second. The authors also noted the benefits in terms of lower cost compared ........ Read more »

  • January 1, 2016
  • 01:02 PM
  • 206 views

Atmospheric monitoring with SLidar

by Stuart in Optical Futures

A new approach to atmospheric monitoring measures laser backscatter range as a function of angle using the Scheimpflug principle, instead of the more common time of flight method known as Lidar, which means it can monitor a large volume of space all at once. Given the name SLidar, it was demonstrated to work during daylight to measure cloud height and particle emissions using a diode laser. Compared with Lidar, the lasers and optics required for SLidar are cheaper and less complex, which could ........ Read more »

  • April 1, 2015
  • 07:36 PM
  • 995 views

Drifting towards spintronic polarimeters

by Bryn Howells in Spin and Tonic

In electronics, a drift current is one where the motion of charge carriers is dictated by an applied electric field. In contrast, a diffusive current...
The post Drifting towards spintronic polarimeters appeared first on Spin and Tonic.
... Read more »

Nádvorník, L., Haigh, J., Olejník, K., Irvine, A., Novák, V., Jungwirth, T., & Wunderlich, J. (2015) Efficient conversion of light to charge and spin in Hall-bar microdevices. Physical Review B, 91(12). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.91.125205  

  • March 17, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,932 views

I See, Said The Blind Man

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

I can’t stand it when I get dust in my eye. Can you imagine having a neural implant in your eye? Star Trek’s Geordi LaForge had implanted electrodes that, along with his visor, let him see. Visual neural prostheses are no longer a thing of science fiction, making the blind see is science fact. The only difference is that he saw in all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. But there’s no reason we can’t do that as well. ... Read more »

Jung, J., Aloni, D., Yitzhaky, Y., & Peli, E. (2014) Active confocal imaging for visual prostheses. Vision Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2014.10.023  

Nirenberg, S., & Pandarinath, C. (2012) Retinal prosthetic strategy with the capacity to restore normal vision. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(37), 15012-15017. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207035109  

Stingl, K., Bartz-Schmidt, K., Gekeler, F., Kusnyerik, A., Sachs, H., & Zrenner, E. (2013) Functional Outcome in Subretinal Electronic Implants Depends on Foveal Eccentricity. Investigative Ophthalmology , 54(12), 7658-7665. DOI: 10.1167/iovs.13-12835  

  • March 10, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,678 views

Pulling Us Toward Tractor Beams

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Tractor beams pulling space ships are things of science fiction, but tractor beams pulling small objects on Earth are science fact. Beams usually push things away with their force, but we have learned to manipulate them so that they push things back to the source – we can do it with water, sound and even laser light.... Read more »

Shvedov, V., Davoyan, A., Hnatovsky, C., Engheta, N., & Krolikowski, W. (2014) A long-range polarization-controlled optical tractor beam. Nature Photonics, 8(11), 846-850. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2014.242  

Mo Li, W. H. P. Pernice, & H. X. Tang. (2009) Tunable bipolar optical interactions between guided lightwaves. Nature Photonics. arXiv: 0903.5117v1

Démoré CE, Dahl PM, Yang Z, Glynne-Jones P, Melzer A, Cochran S, MacDonald MP, & Spalding GC. (2014) Acoustic tractor beam. Physical review letters, 112(17), 174302. PMID: 24836252  

Punzmann, H., Francois, N., Xia, H., Falkovich, G., & Shats, M. (2014) Generation and reversal of surface flows by propagating waves. Nature Physics, 10(9), 658-663. DOI: 10.1038/nphys3041  

Ruffner DB, & Grier DG. (2012) Optical conveyors: a class of active tractor beams. Physical review letters, 109(16), 163903. PMID: 23215079  

  • March 3, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,680 views

Star Trek Phasers, Coming To Us Sooner or Laser

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Can we make a Star Trek phaser? In a classic example of life imitating art, the militaries of many countries are actively pursuing such directed energy weapons. So far, we’ve developed high-energy lasers and masers, particle beams, and something that looks a lot like an aimed lightning bolt. But our versions are huge, what must be overcome to make hand-held versions?... Read more »

Shao, L., Cline, D., Ding, X., Ho, Y., Kong, Q., Xu, J., Pogorelsky, I., Yakimenko, V., & Kusche, K. (2013) Simulation prediction and experiment setup of vacuum laser acceleration at Brookhaven National Lab-Accelerator Test Facility. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 25-29. DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2012.09.053  

Bartal, T., Foord, M., Bellei, C., Key, M., Flippo, K., Gaillard, S., Offermann, D., Patel, P., Jarrott, L., Higginson, D.... (2011) Focusing of short-pulse high-intensity laser-accelerated proton beams. Nature Physics, 8(2), 139-142. DOI: 10.1038/nphys2153  

Oxborrow, M., Breeze, J., & Alford, N. (2012) Room-temperature solid-state maser. Nature, 488(7411), 353-356. DOI: 10.1038/nature11339  

Peralta, E., Soong, K., England, R., Colby, E., Wu, Z., Montazeri, B., McGuinness, C., McNeur, J., Leedle, K., Walz, D.... (2013) Demonstration of electron acceleration in a laser-driven dielectric microstructure. Nature, 503(7474), 91-94. DOI: 10.1038/nature12664  

  • February 24, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,477 views

Seeing Our Way to Invisibility

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Star Trek had cloaking devices, and Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins had their magic cloaks. In real life, we can make things disappear too. Cloaking devices are quickly becoming reality, and we bend light to make them work.... Read more »

Choi, J., & Howell, J. (2014) Paraxial ray optics cloaking. Optics Express, 22(24), 29465. DOI: 10.1364/OE.22.029465  

Fan, P., Chettiar, U., Cao, L., Afshinmanesh, F., Engheta, N., & Brongersma, M. (2012) An invisible metal–semiconductor photodetector. Nature Photonics, 6(6), 380-385. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.108  

  • October 13, 2014
  • 11:18 AM
  • 1,271 views

Guiding light to boost algae biofuel production

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study uses waveguides dotted with SU-8 pillars to scatter light in a tank of algae. By varying the spacing of the pillars, light intensity across the tank was approximately uniform and increased algae growth by 'at least 40%' compared to scheme with uniformly-distributed pillars... Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 05:13 AM
  • 1,274 views

Not-So-Green Men

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

The Webb Telescope searches for alien life on exoplanets by analyzing CFC pollution from potentially advanced civilizations. [Infographic]... Read more »

  • August 8, 2014
  • 08:27 AM
  • 1,193 views

Silica Glass Keeps Solar Cells Cool

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A team of scientists led by Shanhui Fan, an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University, has used a specially patterned layer of silica glass to keep solar cells cool by shepherding away unwanted thermal radiation.... Read more »

Zhu, L., Raman, A., Wang, K., Anoma, M., & Fan, S. (2014) Radiative cooling of solar cells. Optica, 1(1), 32. DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.1.000032  

  • July 14, 2014
  • 04:37 PM
  • 853 views

Laser Helps Understand Inner Workings of Solar Panels

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Believe it or not we don’t totally understand how solar cells work, particularly organic thin-film photovoltaics. But scientists Canada, London and Cyprus have recently used lasers to shed some light into the process, which could help make more efficient solar panels tomorrow.... Read more »

Provencher, F., Bérubé, N., Parker, A., Greetham, G., Towrie, M., Hellmann, C., Côté, M., Stingelin, N., Silva, C., & Hayes, S. (2014) Direct observation of ultrafast long-range charge separation at polymer–fullerene heterojunctions. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5288  

  • June 21, 2014
  • 10:50 PM
  • 937 views

Invisibility Cloaks

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Harry Potter comes to life through some physics magic: the debut and drawbacks of invisibility cloaks. [Infographic]... Read more »

  • June 19, 2014
  • 04:10 PM
  • 958 views

LANL Researchers Boost Quantum-Dot Solar Cell Efficiency

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have achieved an almost four-fold increase of the carrier multiplication yield using nanoengineered quantum dots.... Read more »

Cirloganu, C., Padilha, L., Lin, Q., Makarov, N., Velizhanin, K., Luo, H., Robel, I., Pietryga, J., & Klimov, V. (2014) Enhanced carrier multiplication in engineered quasi-type-II quantum dots. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5148  

  • June 17, 2014
  • 06:06 PM
  • 1,007 views

Polychromat Layer Boosts Solar Cell Efficiency by 50%

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

University of Utah electrical engineers have designed a thin layer made of a transparent plastic or glass that sorts and concentrates sunlight to boost the overall efficiency of solar cells by up to 50 percent.... Read more »

  • June 12, 2014
  • 07:30 PM
  • 948 views

Novel Material to Increase CQD Solar Cell Efficiency

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers in the University of Toronto’s Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have designed and tested a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle, an air-stable n-type colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solid.... Read more »

Ning, Z., Voznyy, O., Pan, J., Hoogland, S., Adinolfi, V., Xu, J., Li, M., Kirmani, A., Sun, J., Minor, J.... (2014) Air-stable n-type colloidal quantum dot solids. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat4007  

  • June 2, 2014
  • 09:20 AM
  • 834 views

Laser Generates Artificial Sunlight to Test Solar Cells

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laser-based instrument that generates artificial sunlight to help test solar cell properties and find ways to boost their efficiency.... Read more »

  • May 26, 2014
  • 02:41 PM
  • 879 views

Scientists Examine New Material With Potential Use in Batteries

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Analysis of a manganese-based crystal by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has produced the first clear picture of its molecular structure. The findings could help explain the magnetic and electronic behavior of the whole family of crystals, many of which have potential for use in batteries.... Read more »

Li, X., Ma, X., Su, D., Liu, L., Chisnell, R., Ong, S., Chen, H., Toumar, A., Idrobo, J., Lei, Y.... (2014) Direct visualization of the Jahn–Teller effect coupled to Na ordering in Na5/8MnO2. Nature Materials, 13(6), 586-592. DOI: 10.1038/nmat3964  

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