Tunable fluidic micro lenses can focus and direct light at will to count cells, evaluate molecules or create on-chip optical tweezers, according to a team of Penn State engineers. They may also provide imaging in medical devices, eliminating the necessity and discomfort of moving the tip of a probe.
Conventional, fixed focal length lenses can focus light at only one distance. The entire lens must move to focus on an object or to change the direction of the light. Attempts at conventional tunable lenses have not been successful for lenses on the chip. Fluidic lenses, however, can change their focal length or direction in less than a second while remaining in the same place and can be fabricated on the chip during manufacture.
Ultrafast, light-sensitive video cameras are needed for observing high-speed events such as shockwaves, communication between living cells and a Usain Bolt sprint. To catch such elusive moments, a camera must be able to capture millions or billions of images continuously with a very high frame rate. Conventional cameras have not been up to the task but researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science say they have developed a novel, continuously running camera that captures images roughly a thousand times faster than any existing conventional camera.
People are always going on about the life expectancy of babies and people in general. Now quantum states are getting their due.
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in measuring and controlling the lifetime of quantum states with potential use in optoelectronic chips. This achievement is highly significant for the ongoing development of this cutting-edge technology. The breakthrough involved measuring the intersubband relaxation time of charge states in silicon-germanium SiGe structures on a picosecond scale. Experiments have also shown that it is possible to control and extend these times. As a result, this body of work represents a major advance in the development of data processing based on optoelectronic chips.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Princeton University have shown for the first time that the difference in reflection of light from the Earth's land masses and oceans can be seen on the dark side of the moon, a phenomenon known as earthshine.
Sally Langford from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics who conducted the study as part of her PhD, says that the brightness of the reflected earthshine varied as the Earth rotated, revealing the difference between the intense mirror-like reflections of the ocean compared to the dimmer land.
"In the future, astronomers hope to find planets like the Earth around other stars. However these planets will be too small to allow an image to be made of their surface," she said.
If you haven’t the infinite ammo of the late Hunter S. Thompson or the lightning-fast trigger finger (and impressive spray radius) of a recent Vice President, it actually takes considerable skill to shoot a fish in a barrel (exact difficulty proportional to size of barrel and fish depth and inversely proportional to size of fish). Some of this trickiness is due to refraction, or the change in speed and thus direction of light waves as they move from air to water.
Wait a minute!? Isn’t the speed of light constant?
Yes. But only in a vacuum.
The next time an overnight snow begins to fall, take two bricks and place them side by side a few inches apart in your yard. In the morning, the bricks will be covered with snow and barely discernible. The snowflakes will have filled every vacant space between and around the bricks.
What you will see, says Ivan Biaggio, an associate professor of physics at Lehigh University, resembles a phenomenon that, when it occurs at the smallest of scales on an integrated optical circuit, could hasten the day when the Internet works at superfast speeds.
Scientists are harnessing the cosmos as a scientific “instrument” in their quest to determine the makeup of the universe. Evalyn Gates calls from the University of Chicago calls it “Einstein’s telescope” but she actually means the phenomenon of gravitational lensing
, which acts as a sort of natural telescope.
In general relativity, mass can warp space and create gravitational fields that bend light - confirmed in by Arthur Eddington during a solar eclipse, when he saw that the light from stars that passed close to the sun was slightly bent, making them appear out of position.
Demands on telescope technology are rapidly increasing as astronomers look at fainter and fainter objects in the night sky. The large amount of light collection area required to view very dim objects poses a number of significant engineering problems to future telescope designers. To collect short-wavelength radio waves, for instance, an antenna miles across would be required. This has led engineers to construct multiple small telescopes whose signals can be integrated, providing the necessary level of detail.
Sliced light is how we communicate now. Millions of phone calls and cable television shows per second are dispatched through fibers in the form of digital zeros and ones formed by chopping laser pulses into bits. This slicing and dicing is generally done with an electro-optic modulator, a device for allowing an electric signal to switch a laser beam on and off at high speeds (the equivalent of putting your hand in front of a flashlight). Reading that fast data stream with a compact and reliable receiver is another matter. A new error-free speed-reading record using a compact ultra-fast component—640 Gbits/second (Gbps, or billion bits per second)—has now been established by a collaboration of scientists from Denmark and Australia.
Uniform and mottle patterns are what most people recognize as camouflage and those patterns function by resembling the background. True background matching is not simple, though, and Roger T. Hanlon and colleagues say they are making one of the first efforts to quantify camouflage body patterns.
Although they have begun to compare camouflage tactics in many animals — large primates, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, insects — they are currently focusing on the cephalopods, which include squid, octopus, and cuttlefish. Remarkably, these soft-bellied mollusks are able to dynamically produce all three classes of camouflage body patterns (termed uniform, mottled, and disruptive).