Feature Articles

Optics in Australia

Australia is renowned for its abundant sunlight, which enhances the vibrant colors of the continent. In the scientific realm, Australia is also well known for its outstanding contributions to the study and application of light in science and engineering.

by Ken Baldwin and Benjamin J. Eggleton
Horizons for Optical Data Storage

By now, everyone is familiar with the products of the first two generations of commercially successful optical data storage: compact discs for audio and software distribution and digital versatile discs for video. This article reviews these optical disc technologies and looks ahead to successive generations, which will exhibit finer resolution, higher data rate and increased capacity.

by Tom D. Milster
A Minimalist Approach to All-Optical Packet Switching

By retaining only the most essential packet-switching functions in the optical domain, a single Fabry Perot Laser Diode can function as an all-optical on/off switch with all-optical header processing, and an all-optical add/drop node can be used to construct an all-optical ring network.

by P.K. Alex Wai, Lixin Xu, Kevin L.F. Lui, Chun-yin Li, Lai-yin Chan and Hwa-yaw Tam
Optimizing the Performance of Optical Mounting Systems

Achieving good thermal stability performance with optical mounts is critical to ensuring the overall stability of a setup, experiment or instrument. Manufacturers are making it easier to understand how mounts will perform under various conditions, but a knowledge of mount design is still essential.

by Debbie Wilson and Kathryn D. Li Dessau
Atom Nano-Optics

Nanolocalized light fields composed of photon dots and photon holes are being used to control the motion of atoms on a nanometer spatial scale.

by Victor Balykinm, Vasili Klimov and Vladilen Letokhov

Departments and Columns

Washington Focus
Optics Key to Transportation Improvements

The U.S. Transportation Department’s first significant action of 2005 was requiring trains to display reflective materials to make locomotives and rail cars more visible. It’s a timely example of the important part that optical science is playing in efforts to improve America’s transportation system.

Light Touch
How Ray Guns Got ther Zap

Drawing on decades of optical science, H.G. Wells imagined the first ray gun in the science fiction classic War of the Worlds. But it took comic strip hero Buck Rogers to add a "zap."

Education
Model Solar Car Race Illuminates Solar Energy

An annual race held at regional sites throughout the United States gives middle school students the opportunity to show their engineering and design skills by building and racing model solar-powered vehicles.

Global Optics
Optics in India

An OSA Fellow travels to India as part of the OSA Fellow Travel Grant program and shares the details of his journey.


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