Apropos of a New Year, Father Time might now carry a third, more accurate type of optical clock—though research, rather than strictly timekeeping, may be its ultimate purpose. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA, have reported a prototype atomic-array optical clock that uses optical-tweezer technology to combine [..]

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A research team led by Prof Tan Zhi Kuang from the Department of Chemistry and the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) has developed high-efficiency, near-infrared LEDs that can cover an area of 900 mm2 using low-cost solution-processing methods. SERIS notes that infrared LEDs have applications in optical communications and covert illumination, and are [..]

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Two-photon laser scanning microscopy imaging is commonly applied to study neuronal activity at cellular and subcellular resolutions in mammalian brains. Such studies are yet confined to a single functional region of the brain. In a recent report, Mengke Yang and colleagues at the Brain Research Instrument Innovation Center, Institute of Neuroscience, Center for Systems Neuroscience [..]

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Scientists at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) developed a new type of optical metasurface that makes light reflect in one direction only. Leveraging both the spatial and temporal phase manipulation provided by an ultrathin nonlinear metasurface, the scientists experimentally demonstrated nonreciprocal light reflection at wavelengths around 860 nm. The new metasurface could advance the development [..]

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Researchers have designed a new chip-integrated light source that can transform infrared wavelengths into visible wavelengths, which have been difficult to produce with technology based on silicon chips. This flexible approach to on-chip light generation is poised to enable highly miniaturized photonic instrumentation that is easy to manufacture and rugged enough to use outside the [..]

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For most people, getting an ultrasound is a relatively easy procedure: As a technician gently presses a probe against a patient’s skin, sound waves generated by the probe travel through the skin, bouncing off muscle, fat, and other soft tissues before reflecting back to the probe, which detects and translates the waves into an image [..]

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Skip the litmus paper—a new type of pH sensor, based on light and under development by an international research team, could both give users instant visual readout and record a signal over time without disturbing biological systems being monitored (Sens. Actuators B, doi: 10.1016/j.snb.2019.127076). The researchers believe that their proof-of-concept device could also form the [..]

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A new design of optical chips enables light to experience multiple dimensions, which could underpin versatile platforms for advanced communications and ultra-fast artificial intelligence technologies. This scientific breakthrough was led jointly by The Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Rostock in Germany, with other collaborators in Germany, the University of Central Florida in [..]

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Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are developing a deep learning-based pattern recognition (PR)-OCT system that will automate image processing and provide accurate, computer-aided diagnosis of colorectal cancer potentially in real time. The technique combines OCT and deep learning to detect patterns in the images of normal and abnormal tissue samples. The researchers began [..]

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A new technique for imaging single molecules that does not rely on fluorescent emitters could find a host of applications in nanotechnology, photonics and photovoltaics. The technique, which was developed by researchers in Barcelona, works by detecting stimulated emission from single quantum dots at room temperature. Its speed makes it possible to trace charge-carrier populations [..]

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Higher atmospheric layers (meaning 30-120 km) are becoming more and more interesting for climate researchers, but the areas above 40 km are only directly accessible with sounding rockets, using conventional research methods. A newly-developed LIDAR system based on a diode-pumped alexandrite laser will soon enable such research remotely. Scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics [..]

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Knowing that patients typically do not show symptoms of pancreatic cancer until it is advanced, making early diagnosis and treatment a challenge, a team of researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Columbus, OH) used a technique called endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided needle-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (nCLE) to definitively diagnose cysts in the pancreas [..]

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For the first time, researchers have used a chip-based sensor with an integrated laser to detect very low levels of a cancer protein biomarker in a urine sample. The new technology is more sensitive than other designs and could lead to non-invasive and inexpensive ways to detect molecules that indicate the presence or progression of [..]

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Diffractive deep neural network is an optical machine learning framework that blends deep learning with optical diffraction and light-matter interaction to engineer diffractive surfaces that collectively perform optical computation at the speed of light. A diffractive neural network is first designed in a computer using deep learning techniques, followed by the physical fabrication of the [..]

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Optical scientists have long been fascinated by the visual system of the mantis shrimp, a marine crustacean whose eyes process information about both the color and the polarization of light. Those capabilities have served as inspiration for a number of optical devices designed extract both 3-D spatial and polarization information simultaneously. But it’s been tough [..]

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MIT researchers have devised a method that accelerates the process for creating and customizing templates used in medical-image analysis, to guide disease diagnosis. One use of medical image analysis is to crunch datasets of patients’ medical images and capture structural relationships that may indicate the progression of diseases. In many cases, analysis requires use of [..]

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The ability to mimic nature—biomimetics—provides scientists a roadmap to fabricate complex micro- and nanoscale structures that take on the useful functions of the plant or animal being duplicated. Using microfluidics, nanoparticles, and patterned surfaces in a reproducible and scalable process, researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) were able to create lens arrays from ‘liquid [..]

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An international team of researchers from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) and the University of Salento (both in Lecce, Italy) and Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA) has developed a method to capture and pinpoint the epicenter of neural activity in the brain using light. The approach lays the foundation for novel ways to map [..]

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A Rutgers University-led team has created what it is calling “better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurological disorders.” The development, which features a graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging system, monitors the progress of stem cells by detecting genetic material [..]

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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have developed an optical switch that routes light from one computer chip to another in just 20 billionths of a second—faster than any other similar device. The compact switch is the first to operate at voltages low enough to be integrated onto [..]

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