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Articles on Optics

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The electromagnetic spectrum we can access with current technologies is completely occupied. This means experts have to think of creative ways to meet our rocketing demands for data. NASA Johnson/Flickr

We’re using lasers and toaster-sized satellites to beam information faster through space

Free space optical communication will allow the same connectivity in space we already have on Earth. And this will provide benefits across a number of sectors.
20 tons of Ohara E6 borosilicate glass being loaded onto the mold of one of the GMT’s mirrors. Ray Bertram, Steward Observatory

How do you build a mirror for one of the world’s biggest telescopes?

The laws of physics dictate that to pick out ever fainter objects from space and see them more sharply, we're going to need a bigger telescope. And that means we need massive mirrors.
A new invisibility cloak can hide objects using an ultrathin layer of nanoantennas that reflect off light. Are humans next? Courtesy of Xiang Zhang group, Berkeley Lab/UC Berkeley

Ten years on, invisibility cloaks are close to becoming a manufacturable reality

Research into invisibility cloaks has been flourishing over the past decade yet they have still not reached the market. But that may be about to change.
Green lasers glowing within cells. Matjaž Humar and Seok Hyun Yun

We transformed living cells into tiny lasers

Using fluorescent dye, researchers figured out how to turn cells into lasers – with applications for cell tagging and tracking as well as medical diagnoses and therapies.
As much as we like to think that we vote on substance – not style – studies have shown that physical appearance matters to voters. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Welcome to Politics4K

While much of the 2014 midterm election analysis centered on the Republican takeover of the Senate, the pundits may have overlooked an important development: the end of a time when politicians looked a…
Using nanotechnology, researchers have developed a technique to increase the data storage capacity of a DVD from a measly 4.7GB to 1,000TB. Nature Communications

More data storage? Here’s how to fit 1,000 terabytes on a DVD

We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years. The obvious question is: how can we store it all? In Nature Communications today…

New uses for carbon nanotubes

University of California, Riverside, scientists have added ionic liquid to single-walled carbon nanotubes and modified the…
The Lytro is ripe for exploitation in ways that have yet to be explored. Thomas Hawk

Focus after the fact: the Lytro light field camera is in Australia

We’ve all been there: the photo that would rock if not for the dodgy focus, highlighting a pot plant instead of your subject’s head. Today, nine-or-so months after its launch in the US, the Lytro camera…

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