Table of contents



Celebrating the laser p259


This month sees the 50th anniversary of the laser, with a host of activities taking place in celebration.



Why future supercomputing requires optics pp261 - 263

H. John Caulfield & Shlomi Dolev


Could optical technology offer a solution to the heat generation and bandwidth limitations that the computing industry is starting to face? The benefits of energy-efficient passive components, low crosstalk and parallel processing suggest that the answer may be yes.


Research Highlights

Our choice from the recent literature pp264 - 265



News and Views

Nano-Optics: Yagi–Uda antenna shines bright pp267 - 268

Geoffroy Lerosey


The demonstration of a Yagi–Uda nano-antenna that operates at visible wavelengths gives hope for a convenient means of directing radiation patterns from nanoscale light sources such as single molecules and quantum dots.

Optofluidics: Air-tuned dye laser fits on a chip p269

Sonia Shahi


Imaging: Sharper focus by random scattering pp269 - 271

Mathias Fink


Contrary to intuition, a disordered scattering medium can be exploited to improve, rather than deteriorate, the focusing resolution of a lens.

Quantum data processing: Pyramidal quantum dots pp271 - 272

David Gershoni


The use of a fabrication scheme for controlling the symmetry, uniformity and location of quantum dots has resulted in a superior source of entangled photon pairs.

Ultrafast optics: Nonlinear attraction pp272 - 274

John M. Dudley


A new femtosecond fibre laser design combines two distinct regimes of nonlinear dynamic attraction within a single cavity to yield robust and low-noise performance.

Disordered optics: Resonant dust pp274 - 275

Diederik S. Wiersma


The optics of disordered materials is rich and full of surprises. Researchers have now found a new form of stochastic resonance in which an image beam is resonantly amplified by noise.

View from... JSAP spring meeting 2010: The season of inspiration p276

Noriaki Horiuchi


A scheme for polishing glass to an angstrom-scale surface quality and an all-optical pH measurement technique were just two of the elegant ideas presented at this year's spring meeting of the Japan Society of Applied Physics.



Graphene photodetectors for high-speed optical communications pp297 - 301

Thomas Mueller, Fengnian Xia & Phaedon Avouris


A graphene-based photodetector with unprecedented photoresponsivity and the ability to perform error-free detection of 10 Gbit s−1s data streams is demonstrated. The results suggest that graphene-based photonic devices have a bright future in telecommunications and other optical applications.

Subject Category: Optoelectronic devices and components

See also: Interview with Thomas Mueller

Polarization-entangled photons produced with high-symmetry site-controlled quantum dots pp302 - 306

A. Mohan, M. Felici, P. Gallo, B. Dwir, A. Rudra, J. Faist & E. Kapon


Entangled photons are efficiently generated from highly symmetric, site-controlled InGaAs/GaAs quantum dots grown in inverted pyramids. Fine-structure splitting of the intermediate exciton level is suppressed without the application of electric, magnetic or strain fields. Polarization entanglement is demonstrated by measurements of the two-photon density matrix and the confirmation of several entanglement criteria.

Subject Categories: Quantum optics | Nanophotonics

See also: News and Views by Gershoni

Soliton–similariton fibre laser pp307 - 311

Bulent Oktem, Coşkun Ülgüdür & F. Ömer Ilday


Scientists report a mode-locking regime of an erbium-doped fibre laser in which the laser pulse evolves as a similariton in the gain segment of the cavity and transforms into a soliton in the rest of the cavity. The findings constitute the first observation of amplifier similaritons in a laser cavity and are likely to be applicable to various other nonlinear systems.

Subject Categories: Lasers, LEDs and light sources | Fundamental optical physics | Nonlinear optics

See also: News and Views by Dudley

Directional control of light by a nano-optical Yagi–Uda antenna pp312 - 315

Terukazu Kosako, Yutaka Kadoya & Holger F. Hofmann


A Yagi–Uda directional antenna — the work horse of radiofrequency communications for more than 60 years — has now been demonstrated at visible wavelengths. An array of appropriately tuned nanoparticles replicate the reflecting and directing elements of the original design. Directional control of radiation from the nano-optical Yagi–Uda antenna was experimentally shown.

Subject Categories: Plasmonics | Imaging and sensing | Nanophotonics

See also: News and Views by Lerosey

Heralded noiseless linear amplification and distillation of entanglement pp316 - 319

G. Y. Xiang, T. C. Ralph, A. P. Lund, N. Walk & G. J. Pryde


A noiseless linear amplifier for quantum states of an optical field is demonstrated. The amplifier is also used to enhance entanglement through a technique known as distillation. Such amplification and distillation may be useful for quantum cloning, metrology and communications.

Subject Category: Quantum optics

Exploiting disorder for perfect focusing pp320 - 322

I. M. Vellekoop, A. Lagendijk & A. P. Mosk


Light is scattered out of a focusing beam when an inhomogeneous medium is placed between the lens and the focal plane. Now, scientists experimentally demonstrate that scattering can be exploited to improve, rather than deteriorate, the focusing resolution of a lens by using wavefront shaping to compensate for scattering.

Subject Categories: Imaging and sensing | Fundamental optical physics

See also: News and Views by Fink



Nonlinear self-filtering of noisy images via dynamical stochastic resonance pp323 - 328

Dmitry V. Dylov & Jason W. Fleischer


By exploiting stochastic resonance — in which nonlinear coupling allows signals to grow at the expense of noise — scientists show that they can recover noise-hidden images propagating in a self-focusing medium. The findings pave the way for a variety of nonlinear instability-driven imaging techniques.

Subject Categories: Imaging and sensing | Fundamental optical physics

See also: News and Views by Wiersma

Measuring the light emission profile in organic light-emitting diodes with nanometre spatial resolution pp329 - 335

S. L. M. van Mensfoort, M. Carvelli, M. Megens, D. Wehenkel, M. Bartyzel, H. Greiner, R. A. J. Janssen & R. Coehoorn


Precise spatial characterization of the origin of light emission from organic light-emitting diodes is important for improving the design of future devices and gaining valuable insight into their operation. Here, a characterization scheme that achieves this task with a spatial resolution better than 5 nm is reported.

Subject Category: Lasers, LEDs and light sources



Detecting light with graphene p338

Interview with Thomas Mueller


Will graphene optoelectronics be able to displace silicon technology? Thomas Mueller explains that a new design of graphene photodetector is showing great promise.


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