Feature Articles

Rare Earth Elements: High Demand, Uncertain Supply

Rare earth elements are garnering global media attention due to their potential role in clean energy technologies. But these elements—which have enabled spectacular innovations in optics over the past decades—are now subject to unprecedented price shocks due to uncertainty around future supply. What does this mean for the optics community?

by Marcius Extavour
Optogenetics: An Illuminating Journey into the Brain

Through the fascinating new study of optogenetics, researchers can use light to control brain cells that have been genetically engineered to respond to specific wavelengths. This rapidly evolving field is helping to demystify how neural circuits function.

by Sally Cole Johnson
DNA as an Optical Material

DNA, the beautifully symmetrical “molecule of life,” carries the core genetic blueprint for every living organism. Now, through the emerging field of DNA photonics, it also has the potential to serve as an inexpensive, renewable resource in the development of optical waveguides, organic LEDs and laser structures.

by A.J. Steckl, H. Spaeth, H. You, E. Gomez and J. Grote
The Extreme Light Infrastructure: Optics’ Next Horizon

The Extreme Light Infrastructure—a project involving nearly 40 research and academic institutions from 13 EU member countries—will allow researchers to probe laser-matter interaction at unprecedented intensity levels.

by Gérard Mourou and Toshiki Tajima
Optical Control through Light Transmission

The simple action of passing laser light through an optically transparent system may enable researchers to control a number of mechanical and optoelectronic processes. These novel interactions of light present an array of useful applications in optical switching, optical binding and fluorescence imaging.

by David S. Bradshaw and David L. Andrews

Departments and Columns

Career Focus
Managing Up in Academia

Life as a graduate student or post-doc is full of challenges, whether they include learning complex scientific concepts, acquiring new technical skills, or managing your first large project. For some unlucky individuals, an academic position may also bring the trial of coping with a poor relationship with their advisor. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.

"Adopt-A-School" to Boost STEM Education

A pilot project in a Tucson school demonstrates how optical researchers and grad students can directly influence science education among today’s youth.

Light Touch
Visions of Invisibility in Fiction

Long before the advent of optical cloaking, authors of science fiction were imagining how it could work—-and making some good guesses in the process.

Optical Engineering
Optical 3-D Gesture Recognition

With applications in gaming, business and beyond, 3-D optical gesture recognition technology uses light to turn human gestures into computerized data streams.

Policy Matters
A Conversation with Rep. Ralph Hall

OPN talks with the U.S. chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee about R&D funding, America’s role in space, and how he is collaborating with the Obama Administration.

Boosting Precision and Stability of Optical Lattice Clocks

A Japanese team has learned how to improve the stability of an optical lattice clock by defeating one of the last remaining noise sources in the system.

The History of OSA
Presidential Profile: Van Zandt Williams

Van Zandt Williams was OSA’s 1966 President for just five months due to his untimely death—but he had a lasting impact on the Society, particularly in the areas of education and outreach.

Going for the Gold: Metallic Beetles Bring Bling

Researchers at the University of Costa Rica are studying how two beetles create the gold and silver on their backs.

Ship-Borne Laser Zaps Target a Mile Away

The Navy and Northrop Grumman recently tested the Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD), in which a ship-borne laser system disabled a small target boat.

Better Nanoparticle Detection with Optical Microcavities

Scientists have devised a technique for spotting beads with a radius as small as 12.5 nm in solution, and they have improved the signal-to-noise ratio for sensing the influenza A virus by a factor of 10.


Also in this Issue

Book Reviews
Book Reviews

In Memory
In Memory

Remembering Willard S. Boyle and Giuliano Toraldo di Francia.


OSA Today
OSA Today

President's Message
President's Message