Feature Articles

Ultrafast and Ultrashort: Some Recent Advances in Pulsed Lasers

In the R&D lab, new materials, improved performance and higher power levels are expanding opportunities for ultrashort-pulse lasers. And industrial suppliers are pushing the envelope toward ever-shorter and more stable pulses, extending micromachining into previously untapped segments.

by Valerie C. Coffey
Discovering a Laser

An enthusiastic recounting of the early days of the helium cadmium laser—a twisting path with many characters that started at the University of Utah.

by William T. Silfvast
120 Years of Optical Glass Science

An elegant, century-old mathematical relationship, tying the physical properties of a multicomponent glass to those of its chemical components, still provides a powerful tool in designing materials for fiber lasers and other applications.

by Peter D. Dragic and John Ballato

Departments and Columns


Headliners, policy news and industry updates.

Optics Innovations
Block Engineering: Raising the Bar in QCL Spectroscopy

Building on a long pedigree in infrared spectroscopy, Block has emerged as a technology leader in instruments based on quantum cascade lasers.

After Image
Remembering James P. Gordon

Colleagues Steven Chu, Linn Mollenauer, Mark Shtaif and Charles Townes share their memories of a legend and friend.

Career Focus
The Physics of Finance

Putting a scientific background to work in the business world.

Light Touch
The Mystery of Cryolite

The search for an item for a lab demo takes the author surprisingly far afield.


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President's Message
President's Message

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Optical Feedback

Member News
Member News