Articles on Light

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A visualisation of simulation data showing light successfully trapped at a standstill.

Hold it right there: how (and why) to stop light in its tracks

Freezing light in mid-air isn't just the realm of Star Wars, as new research shows. But what do you do with the light once it's trapped? One option is to use it to develop new forms of computers.
A new development could mean vastly increase data transfer over optical fibre cables. Shutterstock

Twisted light could dramatically boost internet speeds

The design of a new chip to detect the twisted nature of light waves could pave the way for next generation of optical communication technologies.
Drawing and reality: designing a metamaterial pattern. On the left is the plan; on the right is the actual object. Bossard/Penn State/Flickr

Beyond invisibility: engineering light with metamaterials

We are beginning to be able to control very precisely how light interacts with matter, creating opportunities for invisibility, soundproofing and even earthquake damage prevention.
The Dreamtime constellation of The Emu rises out of the glow of Sydney, 350km away from the Australian Astronomical Observatory. David Malin

Darkness is disappearing and that’s bad news for astronomy

Darkness is precious to astronomers, but it's also good for everybody. We should ensure we preserve the dark by using the latest technologies responsibly.
Not dark enough. People in bed via

Are we sleep-deprived or just darkness-deprived?

Is electricity making us sleep less? A new study on sleep in preindustrial societies suggests the answer is no. But it misses a big point: people in preindustrial societies spend more time in darkness than we do.
Light of every hue. davidd

Light technologies illuminate global challenges

During these dark winter months, spare a thought for artificial lights. From strings of lights adding holiday cheer to artificial sunlamps alleviating seasonal affective disorder, they brighten our days…

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