Coming to a Lab Bench Near You: Femtosecond X-Ray Spectroscopy

The ephemeral electron movements in a transient state of a reaction important in biochemical and optoelectronic processes have been captured and, for the first time, directly characterized using ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Like many rearrangements of molecular structures, the ring-opening reactions in this study occur on timescales of hundreds of femtoseconds (1 femtosecond equals a millionth of a billionth of a second). The researchers were able to collect snapshots of the electronic structure during the reaction by using femtosecond pulses of X-ray light on a tabletop apparatus.

Posted in: News, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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Engineers Invent Method to Control Light Propagation in Waveguides

A team of Columbia Engineering researchers, led by Applied Physics Assistant Professor Nanfang Yu, has invented a method to control light propagating in confined pathways, or waveguides, with high efficiency by using nano-antennas. To demonstrate this technique, they built photonic integrated devices that not only had record-small footprints but were also able to maintain optimal performance over an unprecedented broad wavelength range.

Posted in: News, Nanotechnology, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics
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Need Glass? Push Print.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and academic collaborators from the University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State University have demonstrated the synthesis of transparent glass through 3D printing, a development that could ultimately lead to altering the design and structure of lasers and other devices that incorporate optics.

Posted in: News, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics
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Dual-modality imaging could guide cancer surgery

Researchers in The Netherlands have demonstrated that combining SPECT/CT and fluorescence imaging could help surgeons differentiate tumor tissue from normal tissue. Their study focused on colorectal cancer (CRC) that metastasized beyond the primary tumor. CRC is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common in women. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 people in the U.S. are expected to die from the disease in 2017.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Brain imaging links Alzheimer's decline to tau protein

A buildup of plaque and dysfunctional proteins in the brain are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. While much Alzheimer's research has focused on accumulation of the protein amyloid beta, researchers have begun to pay closer attention to another protein, tau, long associated with this disease but not studied as thoroughly, in part, because scientists only recently have developed effective ways to image tau.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

The concept of a perfect lens that can produce immaculate and flawless images has been the Holy Grail of lens makers for centuries. In 1873, German physicist and optical scientist Ernst Abbe discovered the diffraction limit of the microscope. In other words, he discovered that conventional lenses are fundamentally incapable of capturing all the details of any given image. Since then, there have been numerous advances in the field to produce images that appear to have higher resolution than allowed by diffraction-limited optics.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Optical imaging technology catches DNA ‘blinking’

Many of the secrets of cancer and other diseases can be found in the cell's nucleus. But getting to that level – to see and investigate the important genetic material housed there – requires creative thinking and extremely powerful imaging techniques.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Sound-Off: How are Collaborative Robots Being Used Today?

Are you seeing collaborative robots being integrated into today's production and manufacturing environments? Tech Briefs invites you to "Sound Off" on the role of "cobots."

Posted in: News, Robotics
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What's New on Tech Briefs: Brickmaking on Mars a 'Smashing' Success

With support from Congress and the President, NASA aims to send a manned mission to Mars by 2040. Establishing a human presence on the Red Planet, however, will require permanent shelters.

And lugging a pile of bricks on the nine-month, 35-million-mile trip is out of the question.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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Human-Robot Interaction: When Robotics Meets Philosophy

To support human-robot interaction, designers are taking a page from philosophy and studying how we work together with one another.

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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