Optics

A record two-hour observation of Jupiter using a new technique to remove atmospheric blur has produced the sharpest whole-planet picture ever taken from the ground. The series of 265 snapshots reveal changes in Jupiter's smog-like haze, probably in response to a planet-wide upheaval more than a year ago.

Being able to correct wide field images for atmospheric distortions has been a goal for decades. The new images of Jupiter prove the value of the advanced technology used by the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) prototype instrument mounted on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), which uses two or more guide stars instead of one as references to remove the blur caused by atmospheric turbulence over a field of view thirty times larger than existing techniques.

Telescopes on the ground suffer from a blurring effect introduced by atmospheric turbulence. This turbulence causes the stars to twinkle in a way that delights the poets but frustrates the astronomers, since it smears out the fine details of the images. However, with Adaptive Optics (AO) techniques, this major drawback can be overcome so that the telescope produces images that are as sharp as theoretically possible, i.e., approaching conditions in space.

Prof. Leonid Yaroslavsky from Tel Aviv University believes that humans may have an ability to "see" colors and shapes - with their skin.

He outlines his 'optic-less imaging model' in a chapter of a new book, "Advances in Information Optics and Photonics", and even says it could lead to a new form of optical imaging technology that beats the limitations of today's lens-based imaging devices. This model, he says, may also explain how a controversial primordial instinct might have evolved over millions of years.

Astronomical instruments needed to answer crucial questions, such as the search for Earth-like planets or the way the Universe expands, have come a step closer with the first demonstration at the telescope of a new calibration system for precise spectrographs. The method uses a Nobel Prize-winning technology called a 'laser frequency comb', and is published in this week's issue of Science.

"It looks as if we are on the way to fulfil one of astronomers' dreams," says team member Theodor Hänsch, director at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Germany. Hänsch, together with John Hall, was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics for work including the frequency comb technique.

CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France, August 28 /PRNewswire/ --

- A Solid First-Half Performance

- Net Profit Up 16.8% at Constant Exchange Rates

- Essilor Launches a Share Buyback Program

The Board of Directors of Essilor International, the world leader in ophthalmic optics, has approved the financial statements for the six months ended June 30, 2008.

EUR millions First-half 2008 First-half 2007 % change % change at constant exchange rates Revenue 1,520.2 1,476.9 +2.9% +9.6% Contribution margin 18.2% 18.1% - - Profit attributable 198.3 181.9 +9.0% +16.8% to equity holders of Essilor International Basic earnings per 0.96 0.88(1) +8.1% +15.8% share (in EUR)

(1) Adjusted for the two-for-one stock split on July 16, 2007

TOKYO, Japan, August 11 /PRNewswire/ -- HOYA Corporation today announced financial results for the first quarter ended June 30, 2008. Net sales were 130.1 billion yen for the quarter, representing an increase of 33.1% from 97.7 billion yen in the first quarter of 2007.

Operating income for the quarter was 21.8 billion yen, a 3.5% decrease compared with 22.6 billion yen in the first quarter of 2007. Net income for the first quarter was 21.1 billion yen, a 24.0% increase compared with 17.0 billion yen in the first quarter of 2007, primarily due to profits on sale of NH Techno Glass stocks, HOYA's equity method affiliate. Earnings per share for the quarter were 48.97 yen compared with 39.61 yen in the first quarter of 2007.

BERLIN, August 11 /PRNewswire/ --

- Exceptional Performance Makes it the Solution of Choice for Data Centres

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated's (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, announces that its FutureCom(TM) 10TENe System exceeds international ISO/IEC 11801:2002 Amd1:2008 and American ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2-10-CAT6A system standards requirements.

Scientists at Tufts University's School of Engineering have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to design an edible optical sensor that can be placed in produce bags to detect harmful levels of bacteria and consumed right along with the veggies. This same technology could mean an implantable device that would monitor glucose in your blood for a year, then dissolve.

Such "living" optical elements that could enable an entirely new class of sensors. These sensors would combine sophisticated nanoscale optics with biological readout functions, be biocompatible and biodegradable, and be manufactured and stored at room temperatures without use of toxic chemicals. The Tufts team used fibers from silkworms to develop the platform devices.

LONDON, August 4 /PRNewswire/ --

- With Photos

Successful results and growing sales of Michelson Diagnostics Ltd's (MDL) Optical Coherence Technology (OCT) systems have encouraged investors to place a further GBP600K into the business to help develop the in vivo technology. The capital injection forms part of a new funding round of almost GBP600k into pioneering MDL, with Catapult Venture Managers investing a further GBP250k, London Seed Capital a further GBP50k and the balance of the money coming from private investors. The money will be used to complete development of its hand-held OCT probe for applications in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080804/316330-a )

We have long been fascinated by the concept of absolute zero, the temperature at which everything comes to a complete stop, but physics tells us absolute zero cannot be reached but only approached - and the closer you get, the more interesting phenomena you find.

Three scientists from ESF's EUROCORES Programme EuroQUAM gave insight into this 'cool' matter at the event "The Amazing Quantum World of Ultra Cold Matter", held at this year's ESOF (Euroscience Open Forum) in Barcelona. It was co-organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) within the collaborative research programme "Cold Quantum Matter" (EuroQUAM).

Maciej Lewenstein leads the quantum optics theory group at ICFO and is a Humboldt Research Prize Awardee.

CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France, July 17 /PRNewswire/ --

- First-Half 2008 Revenue Up

- 5.4% Like-for-Like

- 9.6% at Constant Exchange Rates

Essilor International, the world leader in ophthalmic optics, today announced consolidated revenue of EUR1,520.3 million for the six months ended June 30, 2008, representing a reported 2.9% increase on first half 2007.

Like-for-like growth was 5.4%, in line with trend rates, while growth excluding the currency effect was maintained at a strong 9.6%, lifted by the Company's sustained acquisitions drive (4.2%). This robust performance in a challenging economic environment demonstrates the solid strength of the Company's growth model, built around innovation and acquisitions-led expansion.