Writing with Light: An ‘Etch A Sketch’ Electrical Circuit

Physicists from Washington State University (WSU) have used lasers to draw conductive circuits into a crystal. The achievement demonstrates a new kind of transparent, three-dimensional electronics: circuits that can be erased and reconfigured, like the drawings of an Etch A Sketch.

Posted in: News, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics
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Sound-Off: What’s Next for Optical Design Processes?

Mechanical engineers require a variety of tools to ensure the proper design of optical products like cell phones and autonomous vehicle sensor systems. In a presentation titled "Trends Driving Innovations in Optical Product Design," an attendee asked our expert: What will be integrated into the design process next?

Posted in: News, Optical Components, Optics
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World’s Brightest Laser Sparks New Behavior in Light

Physicists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are seeing an everyday phenomenon in a new light. By focusing laser light to a brightness 1 billion times greater than the surface of the sun — the brightest light ever produced on Earth — the physicists have observed changes in a vision-enabling interaction between light and matter. Those changes yielded unique X-ray pulses with the potential to generate extremely high-resolution imagery useful for medical, engineering, scientific and security purposes.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems
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New Class of ‘Soft’ Semiconductors Could Transform HD Displays

A new type of semiconductor may be coming to a high-definition display near you. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown that a class of semiconductor called halide perovskites can emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nanometers. The findings represent a clear challenge to quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals to emit light. It could also influence the development of new applications in optoelectronics, photovoltaics, nanoscopic lasers, and ultrasensitive photodetectors, among others.

Posted in: News, Materials, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs
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'Magic' Alloy Could Spur Next Generation of Solar Cells

In what could be a major step forward for a new generation of solar cells called "concentrator photovoltaics," University of Michigan researchers have developed a new semiconductor alloy that can capture the near-infrared light located on the leading edge of the visible light spectrum. Easier to manufacture and at least 25 percent less costly than previous formulations, it's believed to be the world's most cost-effective material that can capture near-infrared light—and is compatible with the gallium arsenide semiconductors often used in concentrator photovoltaics.

Posted in: News, Materials, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs
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Handheld Laser Probe Detects Cancer in Real Time

An optical probe that detects cancerous brain cells in real time is impressive enough. Scientists in Montreal say they’ve developed one that is “infallible.”

Posted in: News, News, Diagnostics, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Fiber Optics, Optics, Detectors
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Ultra-Thin Camera Says Good-Bye to the Lens

A new proof-of-concept design retires one of the most familiar parts of a traditional camera: the lens. By swapping out the glass lens with a tiny array of light receivers, a California Institute of Technology team believes the thinner, lighter model supports a new wave of ubiquitous imaging.

Posted in: News, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics
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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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