Feature Articles

Zapping Mars: Using Lasers to Determine the Chemistry of the Red Planet

When NASA’s rover Curiosity landed successfully on Mars last August, it opened a new chapter in space exploration: the use of laser-based instruments to probe the surface of other planets. The nearly one-ton rover was designed to be a laboratory on wheels that is capable of doing sophisticated analyses on rough terrain. Noureddine Melikechi, Roger Wiens, Horton Newsom and Sylvestre Maurice

by Noureddine Melikechi, Roger Wiens, Horton Newsom and Sylvestre Maurice
Adolph Lomb: Patronage, Industry and Optics in Early 20th-Century America

Adolph Lomb did not make any major discoveries or publish original works; yet his influence on early 20th century optics was monumental. Reminiscent of the wealthy princes and patrons of the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, he advanced optics by generously supporting the field—and the Society devoted to it.

by Victoria N. Meyer
All about Sparkles

Sparkles are a magnificent manifestation of optics in nature, and nowhere are they as abundant as on freshly fallen snow. Because they evade our depth-perception mechanism, sparkles have an otherworldly quality that makes them seem to float indeterminately rather than appearing on any surface or at any altitude.

by Alfred Cann

Departments and Columns

Optics Innovations
Thorlabs: Swimming in the Fast Lane

Thorlabs is taking a series of swift, precise strokes to meet its goals for aggressive growth.

Global Optics
Optics at Peking University

Peking University, one of the most reputable universities in China, has boosted its optics research—which spans from fundamental physical optics to application-orientated areas such as nanophotonics, silicon photonics, optical communications and quantum optics.

Conversations in Optics
Network Architect

Nick McKeown is building the Internet of tomorrow.

Career Focus
Learning to Teach

Some instructors are naturals, but for most of us teaching is an acquired skill. Here’s why you can and should learn to do it.


Headliners, policy news and industry updates.


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Member News
Member News

President's Message
President's Message

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Optical Feedback