DARPA-funded researchers have recently developed new methods to integrate long 50-m coils of waveguides with low signal loss onto microchips. This new class of photonic waveguides, with losses approaching that of optical fiber, is smaller and more precise than any previous light delay device.
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a...
In a demonstration at the Vienna Univ. of Technology in Austria, scientists have shown...
An industry-academic partnership has created two different optical components that can be fabricated within the same processes already used in industry to create today’s electronic microprocessors. The modulators, which are structures that detect electrical signals and translate them into optical waves, use light instead of electrical wires to communicate with transistors on a single chip.
Usually, an elementary light source—such as an excited atom or molecule—emits light of a particular color at an unpredictable instance in time. Recently, however, scientists have recently shown that a light source can be coaxed to emit light at a desired moment in time, within an ultrashort burst. The phenomenon has applications in fast stroboscopes, quantum systems and quantum cryptography.
In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, researchers used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice.
Cell phone cameras improve with every new model, but are still lacking in the fine resolution department. A team of researchers have created a miniature system that has the same quality as a full-size, wide-angle lens but is about the size of a walnut. The new system could be used to build a camera that pans and zooms with no moving parts.
Fiber optics has made communication faster than ever, but the next step involves a quantum leap. In order to improve the security of the transfer of information, scientists are working on how to translate electrical quantum states to optical quantum states in a way that would enable ultrafast, quantum-encrypted communications. A research team has demonstrated the first and arguably most challenging step in the process.
A recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describing how graphene can be used to convert signals from optical to electrical has also been explored by engineers in Austria, who have also constructed a graphene light detector on a semiconductor chip. According to the researchers, graphene can convert all light wavelengths which are used in telecommunications.
Bending light beams to your whim sounds like a job for a wizard or an a complex array of bulky mirrors, lenses and prisms, but a few tiny liquid bubbles may be all that is necessary to open the doors for next-generation, high-speed circuits and displays, according to Penn State researchers.
Scientists in France and China have embedded dye molecules in a liquid crystal matrix to throttle the group velocity of light back to less than one billionth of its top speed. The team says the ability to slow light in this manner may one day lead to new technologies in remote sensing and measurement science.
A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore and OPUS Microsystems Corp., a Taiwan-based company specializing in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) scanning mirror devices, have signed an agreement to refine and develop a MEMS scanning mirror for smartphones applications. The goal is to shrink the MEMS micromirror to allow a pico-projector level of operation.
Using carpets of aligned carbon nanotubes, researchers from Rice University and Sandia National Laboratories have created a solid-state electronic device that is hardwired to detect polarized light across a broad swath of the visible and infrared spectrum.
Researchers in the U.K. have demonstrated for the first time incredibly short optical response rates using graphene. Ordinarily, optical switches respond at rate of a few picoseconds. Through this study physicists have observed the response rate of an optical switch using ‘few layer graphene’ to be around one hundred femtoseconds—nearly a hundred times quicker.
Researchers at the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received six R&D 100 awards. The six awards bring ORNL's total of R&D 100 awards to 179 since their inception in 1963. This year, ORNL received awards for the following technologies: ClimateMaster Trilogy 40 Q-Mode Geothermal Heat Pump, Distribute The Highest Selected Textual Recommendation, V-shaped External Cavity Laser Diode Array, and more.
Researchers of the Univ. of Stuttgart have achieved a new world record in coupling efficiency between optical fibers and integrated silicon waveguides. The breakthrough, which resulted in a coupling efficiency of 87%, was based on newly developed aperiodic grating coupler structures optimized at the nanoscale.
A new laser that can show what objects are made of could help military aircraft identify hidden dangers such as weapons arsenals far below. The system, which is made of off-the-shelf telecommunications technology, emits a broadband beam of infrared light. While most lasers emit light of one wavelength, or color, super-continuum lasers like this one give off a tight beam packed with columns of light covering a range of wavelengths.
Ever been to a whispering gallery—a quiet, circular space underneath an old cathedral dome that captures and amplifies sounds as quiet as a whisper? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Michigan are applying similar principles in the development optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.
In physics class, students learn that that a light wave oscillates perpendicular to its propagation direction. However, scientists of the Vienna University of Technology have performed atom-physics experiments with light oscillating in the longitudinal direction. Their findings, achieved by “bottling” light in an optical glass fiber, show that light and matter can couple much more strongly than previously expected.
By bouncing eye-safe laser pulses off a mirror on a hillside, researchers at NIST have transferred ultraprecise time signals through open air with unprecedented precision equivalent to the "ticking" of the world's best next-generation atomic clocks. The demonstration shows how next-generation atomic clocks at different locations could be linked wirelessly to improve distribution of time and frequency information.
Researchers in the U.K. have achieved previously unseen levels of control over the travelling direction of electromagnetic waves. In a recent paper, they have shown how their use of circularly polarized light—light containing spinning photons—and metallic nanostructures achieve a “water wheel” effect to send light waves in a single direction along a metal surface.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have found a new mechanism to transmit light through optical fibers. Their discovery marks the first practical application of a Nobel-Prize-winning phenomenon that was proposed in 1958. The team harnessed “Anderson localization” to create an optical fiber with a strong scattering mechanism that traps the beam of light as it traverses the fiber.
Siemon, a global network infrastructure specialist, has introduced the new LC BladePatch fiber optic duplex jumper, which offers high-density fiber patching with easy access. With its intuitive, ergonomic action, the LC BladePatch completely eliminates the need to access a latch during installation and removal, avoiding any disruption or damage to adjacent fiber connectors.
Orlando-based photonics technology acceleration company Open Photonics Inc. and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have announced a partnership to accelerate the commercialization of VTT’s advanced Fabry-Perot visible and infrared spectroscopy and spectral imaging technologies.
Engineers at Stanford have developed a prototype single-fiber endoscope that improves the resolution of these much-sought-after instruments fourfold over existing designs. This so-called micro-endoscope can resolve objects just 2.5 micrometers in size and could lead to an era of needle-thin, minimally invasive endoscopes able to view features out of reach of today’s instruments.
Sandia National Laboratories has become a pioneer in large-scale passive optical networks, building the largest fiber optical local area network in the world. The network pulls together 265 buildings and 13,000 computer network ports and brings high-speed communication to some of the laboratories' most remote technical areas for the first time.
Recently, a Los Alamos National Laboratory quantum cryptography (QC) team successfully completed the first-ever demonstration of securing control data for electric grids using quantum cryptography. The project, says experts, shows that quantum cryptography is compatible with electric-grid control communications, providing strong security assurances rooted in the laws of physics, without introducing excessive delays in data delivery.
Not only do optical fibers transmit information every day around the world at the speed of light, but they can also be harnessed for the transport of quantum information. Physicists in Austria have recently reported how they have directly transferred the quantum information stored in an atom onto a particle of light. Such information could then be sent over optical fiber to a distant atom.
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