Light

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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 www.shutterstock.com.

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…
There’s definitely room for improvement in night-vision goggle technology – and graphene could make a huge contribution. UK Ministry of Defence/Flickr

Looking at the future through graphene goggles

Graphene – an atom-thick sheet of carbon – has been touted as a new wonder material: it is stronger than steel and conducts electricity better than copper. In the journal Nature Nanotechnology today, my…

Light pollution upsets breeding lemurs

Light pollution disrupts the natural reproductive cycle of lemurs a new study has found. Male lemurs are sexually inactive…
Feel the lift from the light. Flickr/Louish Pixel

Levitation is just part of the power of pushy light

Most of the time we take light for granted. It arrives with the sunrise everyday and we turn it on with a flick of a switch every night. It appears to be ephemeral and benign to us humans but there is…
Bright lights, big city - in the 1950s lighting for productivity and security was overtaken by lighting for spectacle, mood and advertising. Lighting the Sails - 59 Productions Vivid LIVE 2014.

Let there be light: behind the trend of illuminating cities for art

If you’re in Melbourne or Sydney over the next couple of weeks, you can enjoy the nightly transformation of some familiar urban landmarks. How should we understand this growing global enthusiasm for spectacular…

Catching ancient light

Cosmologists have detected a long sought component in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), which will help us to further…

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