Label-free quantitative phase image of the diatom Trigonium. Image taken with an orientation-independent differential interference contrast (OI-DIC) microscope with a 60× water-immersion objective lens. The image width is 90 µm. Specimen was provided by diatom artist Osamu Oku (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5980661).
—Michael Shribak, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA
A high-power femtosecond infrared laser focused into a pressurized Argon gas jet, leading to a plasma in which high-harmonic generation (HHG) occurs to produce coherent EUV and soft X-rays.
—Sven Weerdenburg, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
As demonstrated by Isaac Newton, prisms deflect light rays to varying degrees depending on the color of the light. This effect creates the fascinating superimpositions of the color gradients in this picture.
—Susanne Viezens, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany
A cold atmospheric-pressure plasma jet in a helium/deuterated-water (HDO) mixture in the lab of Grant Ritchie, University of Oxford, UK. The plasma is pulsed at 20 kHz and is probed by the laser beam of a fast mid-infrared dual-comb spectrometer (IRsweep, IRis-F1) to study changes in the energy state population density of HDO.
—Michele Gianella, Empa, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Laser scattering in Plateau borders. The “parlaseric circle” is a luminous ring generated by light scattering in foam or soap bubbles. The name was inspired by the atmospheric phenomena known as a parhelic circle.
—Adriana P.B. Tufaile, Soft Matter Lab, EACH-University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Camera image of an optical setup, showcasing the science cell with an integrated metasurface lens at the center, used to capture and image single Rb atoms.
—Amit Agrawal, Cindy Regal and Scott Papp, NIST, JILA-CU Boulder, CO, USA
A semicircular rainbow with dual rings over Lake Mjøsa, Norway.
—Tanjir Alam, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Gjøvik, Norway
Krypton clusters—produced from supersonic expansion in vacuum (center) of krypton gas from a high-pressure nozzle (top)—are irradiated by a high-power, few-cycle laser (right) to produce soft X-rays, emitted in all directions. X-rays going through the vacuum-chamber differential pumping hole (left) are detected by a soft-X-ray spectrometer (Optica, doi: 10.1364/OPTICA.471084).
—Pierre-Alexis Chevreuil, Ultrafast Laser Physics Group, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
For this year’s contest, OPN received 43 remarkable entries. We thank the panel of judges who provided insight on those images and helped select the winners: Felipe Beltrán-Mejía, Alvaro Casas Bedoya, Mihaela Dinu, Anca Sala and Joel Villatoro.
You can see all of this year’s contest entries online at optica-opn.org/contest/2022.