Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are tiny machines fabricated using equipment and processes developed for the production of electronic chips and devices. They’ve found a wide variety of applications in today’s consumer electronics, but their moving parts can wear out over time as a result of friction. A new approach developed by researchers at MIT could [..]

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MIT chemists have determined the structure of a bacterial enzyme that can produce biodegradable plastics, an advance that could help chemical engineers tweak the enzyme to make it even more industrially useful. The enzyme generates long polymer chains that can form either hard or soft plastics, depending on the starting materials that go into them [..]

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Thermal Noise Imaging

Imagine standing in a dark room in which a single, glowing ball is bouncing around. The ball avoids a region in the center of the room. Over time, you might conclude that an object sits in that region, even though you cannot see it. That thought experiment illustrates thermal-noise imaging, a technique that a team [..]

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Nanoscale Imaging

The bulky nature of optical components has long hindered their convenient integration into our daily lives. Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, for example, require multiple sets of bulky lenses that must be interchanged depending on the desired imaging parameters. Analogous to the miniaturization of silicon chips that has revolutionized electronic devices over the past few [..]

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Live 3D imaging is one of the hottest topics in optics today, transforming medical imaging capabilities and delivering the immersive experience behind augmented and virtual reality. During The Optical Society’s Light the Future Centennial program in Heidelberg, Germany on 26 July, Dr. Joseph Izatt of Duke University and Microsoft’s Bernard Kress gave an insider’s look [..]

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A research team from the United States and China has demonstrated a three-lens fluorescence microscopy method, paired with a computational algorithm, that uses “lost” light from biological specimens to produce high-resolution 3-D images. Read more

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By combining expertise in photonics – manipulating light beams in nanoscale waveguides on a chip – and materials science, Cornell researchers have laid the groundwork for a chemical sensor on a chip that could be used in small portable devices to analyze samples in a lab, monitor air and water quality in the field and [..]

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Today, patients with cataracts can choose from several types of artificial lenses, which are surgically implanted in the eye to replace cloudy lenses that obstruct vision. A new vision simulator could help these patients see how the world would look with each type of implanted artificial lens, before they have surgery. Read more

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A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH; Boston, MA) has developed an optical sensor that can be embedded into an epidural needle, helping anesthesiologists guide the needle to the correct location. The development helps address the complication of needles being inserted too far or [..]

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A research team led by Sushil Kumar of Lehigh University, Penn, USA, has devised an “antenna feedback” scheme that reportedly can provide single-mode operation and strong, highly directional far-field coupling in surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) lasers, bringing them “closer to practical applications” Read more

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While advances in laser technology have driven the unprecedented development of optical coatings, the optical and mechanical properties of coatings must continue to evolve for successful deployment of next-generation high-power, ultrafast, and spaceborne laser systems. Read more

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Live 3-D imaging is one of the hottest topics in optics today, transforming medical imaging capabilities and delivering the immersive experience behind augmented and virtual reality. During The Optical Society’s Light the Future centennial program in Heidelberg, Germany on 26 July, Dr. Joseph Izatt of Duke University and Microsoft’s Bernard Kress gave an insider’s look [..]

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For medics on the battlefield and doctors in remote or developing parts of the world, getting rapid access to the drugs needed to treat patients can be challenging. Biopharmaceutical drugs, which are used in a wide range of therapies including vaccines and treatments for diabetes and cancer, are typically produced in large, centralized fermentation plants. [..]

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Optical coherence tomography (OCT), adaptive optics and other technologies have opened up a world of possibilities for imaging the retina, right down to the photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) that are the gateway to vision. But the equipment for cellular-resolution imaging is bulky, heavy and inconvenient, making it all but useless for addressing one key [..]

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It is hard to overestimate the impact fluorescence imaging has had on life sciences. Fluorescence has advanced the field dramatically, and has become the basis for numerous bioimaging approaches and applications. Optical filtering provides a major source of enhancement for fluorescence techniques —enabling image contrast maximization, maintenance of image quality, and delivery of better outcomes. [..]

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MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons. This technique, known as magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions [..]

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Learning how to look inside a body without having to cut it open is still an important part of medical research. One of the great challenges in imaging remains the visualization of oxygen in tissue. A team led by Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos, Chair for Biological Imaging at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Director [..]

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