Optics

Achieve dynamic control of light—liquid crystals offer way to reconfigure optical properties of metalenses

By Lisa McDonald / August 25, 2020

Metalenses are an emerging technology for controlling light that could someday replace traditional lenses. However, they generally lack dynamic control over their optical properties and are limited to passive optical applications. Researchers from the United States and Italy investigated infiltrating metalenses with liquid crystals to allow for dynamic control.

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Isolating a better option—ceramic Faraday rotators improve optical isolator performance

By Lisa McDonald / July 14, 2020

Optical isolators traditionally use single crystals to polarize light—could transparent ceramics be used instead? Researchers in Japan created high-performing transparent ceramics using lanthanide rare-earth oxides, materials previously believed to not be suited for optical applications.

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Breaking orbital symmetry—researchers achieve arbitrary control of light chirality

By Lisa McDonald / May 8, 2020

Controlling the chirality of light is important in many fundamental and applied studies. An international research collaboration designed and fabricated a metasurface that can control chirality by breaking the symmetry of light’s orbital angular momentum.

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Video: Glass-ceramic allows detailed imaging of sun’s surface

By Lisa McDonald / February 19, 2020

The first images released from the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope show the sun’s surface in unprecedented detail. Such imaging is possible because of ultra-low thermal expansion glass-ceramic mirrors, which are used in numerous large-scale telescope projects around the globe.

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Video: Woo your Valentine with shimmery chocolate

By Lisa McDonald / February 12, 2020

Why give your Valentine chocolate when you could give them shimmery chocolate? Researchers at ETH Zurich found a way to imprint a special structure on the surface of chocolate to create a targeted color effect.

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From disorder to lasers: High-entropy transparent ceramics hold high potential for optics, photonics applications

By Lisa McDonald / December 17, 2019

High-entropy materials present significant potential for numerous applications due to their unique chemistries, but such materials’ optical properties have not been studied fundamentally yet. Two researchers at Alfred University begin to fill this knowledge gap by investigating a transparent high‐entropy fluoride laser ceramic.

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From grain-sized to centimeter scale—technique makes mass production of metalenses possible

By Lisa McDonald / December 13, 2019

Metalenses, or flat surfaces that use nanostructures to focus light, are poised to revolutionize cameras, sensors, and displays—if the lenses can be mass produced. Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences found deep-ultraviolet projection lithography can solve this production challenge.

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Optical fibers for earthquake monitoring head undersea

By Lisa McDonald / December 3, 2019

It is challenging to effectively monitor seismic quakes deep in the ocean. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers and colleagues, who previously used optical fibers to monitor earthquakes on land, tested using optical fibers to monitor earthquakes undersea.

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Video: World’s largest optical lens moves toward completion

By Lisa McDonald / October 23, 2019

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, targeted to begin operations in October 2022, is currently under construction in Chile. Funded through the National Science Foundation, LSST will contain both the largest convex mirror and largest optical lens ever made.

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No pressure, no problem—researchers create transparent nanoceramics using pressureless crystallization

By Lisa McDonald / July 16, 2019

Transparent ceramics offer advantages over conventional glass and single-crystal technologies—could transparent nanoceramics be even more advantageous? Researchers show how pressureless glass crystallization could offer an easier way to synthesize transparent nanoceramics.

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