Feature Articles

Optical Fiber: Through the Looking Glass

The UN International Year of Glass, celebrated throughout 2022, offers an opportunity to reflect on the enabling role of glass in fiber optics—and on their entangled futures.

by John Ballato
When Optical Tweezers Met Biology

Arthur Ashkin’s longtime fascination with light pressure sparked new insights into the mechanical forces that govern biological molecules and cells.

by Patricia Daukantas
Optics in Africa, Part 2: Realizing the Promise

OPN talked with a number of African researchers about the prospects for advancing optical and photonic science on a diverse and changing continent.

by Stewart Wills

Departments and Columns

Research and Industry News

Improving radiative cooling / DNA’s UV shield / Iridescent feathers / Lipid microlenses / Imaging cold atoms / Signify–Fluence deal / Apps for quantum computing / Sun-charged batteries / Imaging in low light

Decarbonizing Glass

The glass industry has one of the highest per-capita production volumes worldwide. Creating glass is also an energy-intensive process. Here we show some decarbonization options for a more sustainable future.

On the Threshold of Discovery

OPN talked with Optica Honorary Member and Nobel laureate John Mather about the Webb Space Telescope’s deployment—and what an extended mission timeline might enable.

Light Touch
Secrets of the Bat Signal

Investigating the real-life origin of, and physics behind, the celebrated beacon from the comic series Batman.

Envisioning Industry 4.0

Elise Neel of Verizon will speak at the upcoming OFC Conference on how 5G technology is empowering the “fourth industrial revolution.”

Then and Now
Of Photophones and Lasers

From smoke signals to semaphores, long-distance optical communication has intrigued humans for millennia. But the advent of the laser changed the game.


Also in this Issue

President's Message
The Information Flood and Scientific Development

Sometimes we need to take steps to rise above a flood of information.

Looking Back
30, 20, and 10 Years Ago in OPN

Lens design; processing light; photonic crystal fiber.

Optica in Focus
News from the Society

Photonics West / Endowed chair / Fellow stories / Member recognitions / Optics Continuum / Webinars / Thanks, editors and volunteers

In Memoriam
Linn F. Mollenauer, 1937–2021

Remembering a scientist whose work on optical solitons transformed the fields of nonlinear optics, ultrashort pulse generation and optical communications.

After Image
Hollow-cathode lamp

The glow of a Th-Ar hollow-cathode lamp. Reflection of light can be seen at the glass walls of the confining cylinder. Image taken with a Canon EOS 450.