Optics

Your cay may soon have a new dashboard, one made of a flexible plastic and oxide layer that could be integrated into the car front window to give the driver direct information

The MULTIFLEXIOXIDES project is designed to develop new cost-efficient, long lasting, light, flexible and transparent devices (can anything be all of those?  Only in academia) which can display information directly on the windshield. This is possible using small glass pads with a transparent substrate of nano-sized flexible oxides, which act as a basis for organic LEDs (light-emitting diodes).
A new imaging system uses walls, doors or floors as 'mirrors' to gather information about scenes that it can't see, even though those objects are not reflective.

Yes, it could ultimately lead to imaging systems that allow emergency responders to evaluate dangerous environments or vehicle navigation systems that can negotiate blind turns, among other applications, but spying on people sounds like more fun.
A new high-precision 3-D printer at TU Vienna is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices and opens up completely new areas of application, such as in medicine. "Two-photon lithography" means tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated quicker than ever.

Their 3-D printer uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand.

CMOS Imaging sensors are the sensor of choice for most consumer digital cameras. They tend to be cheap, low power, compatible with the fabrication equipment that much of modern digital electronics is manufactured on, and other than the very early generations fairly high quality.
Canon EOS cameras became the defacto standard for astrophotography due to low noise and direct access to uncompressed RAW image formats.
We've done articles on rainbows, and double rainbows and even showed you how to make a rainbow appear for that special someone - but have you ever seen a triple rainbow?

Optofluidic solar lighting systems could mean a real boost in solar energy - they capture sunlight from a roof using a light concentrating system that follows the sun's path by changing the angle of the water's refraction, and then distribute the sunlight throughout the building through light pipes or fiber optic cables to the ceilings of office spaces, indoor solar panels, or even microfluidic air filters.

New nano-structured glass optical elements could significantly reduce the cost of medical imaging.

In their Applied Physics Letters paper, the team describes how they have used nano-structures to develop new monolithic glass space-variant polarization converters. These millimeter-sized devices generate ‘whirlpools’ of light enabling precise laser material processing, optical manipulation of atom-sized objects, ultra-high resolution imaging and maybe even table-top particle accelerators. 

What Color Is An Orange ?


A question like that, here at science20.com, just has to be a trick question.

It is possible, by the application of common sense arguments, to prove to a scientific level of certainty that an orange is absolutely not orange.


How don't we see ?


Between 41% and 67% of participants, depending on the exact way the question was asked, thought that the eye sent out some kind of ray or beam in order for us to see.

That's not the startling bit.
One of the earliest lessons science students learn is that a beam of light travels in a straight line and fan out, or diffract, as they travel. Recently it was discovered that light rays can travel without diffraction in a curved arc in free space. These rays of light were dubbed “Airy beams,” after the English astronomer Sir George Biddell Airy, who studied what appears to be the parabolic trajectory of light in a rainbow.

Now, scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated the first technique that provides dynamic control in real-time of the curved trajectories of Airy beams over metallic surfaces.

My wife and I once saw a rainbow and we discussed how it happened. She listened somewhat patiently for the first few sentences and then told me I was spoiling the magic of the rainbow, like it was somehow less romantic if she knew how it happened.(1)

Men, you are with me on this; she has a man who can make a rainbow for her any time she wants - and will. That's a higher order of romantic, I think you will agree. Plus, I have to defend all rainbow-making men and note that because my rainbow is a special distribution of colors whose reference point is her eyes, no one else will ever see it. Is it literally for her eyes only.