Table of contents



Not taking light lightly p1


2012 was an eventful year for optics and photonics, pointing to an exciting yet challenging year ahead.


News and Views

Random photonics: True Anderson localization pp5 - 6

Claudio Conti


In three-dimensional disordered media, light localization can occur when the disorder is above a certain threshold. Researchers now report experimental evidence of this transition from light diffusion to trapping.

See also: Letter by Sperling et al.

Frequency combs: Spatial coherent control pp6 - 8

Andrew M. Weiner


Combining concepts from Doppler-free spectroscopy, coherent quantum control and frequency comb spectroscopy leads to new opportunities for the precision excitation of atomic species with high resolution, both spectrally and spatially.

See also: Letter by Barmes et al.

Optical metrology: A gentle touch pp8 - 9

Geoff J. Pryde


Light is an excellent tool for making precise measurements of objects, but can sometimes alter or damage a sensitive sample. Researchers have now shown that entanglement and quantum-correlated light can be used to help alleviate this problem.

See also: Letter by Wolfgramm et al.

View from... Frontiers in Optics 2012: Fast-paced photonics pp9 - 12

Rachel Won


Attosecond photonics has contributed to a wide range of important scientific and technological breakthroughs. The challenges now are to realize high-energy attosecond sources and to simplify attosecond technologies for widespread use.

Optofluidics: On-chip bioassay p12

Noriaki Horiuchi




Emergence of colloidal quantum-dot light-emitting technologies pp13 - 23

Yasuhiro Shirasaki, Geoffrey J. Supran, Moungi G. Bawendi & Vladimir Bulović


This Review article summarizes the key advantages of using quantum dots (QDs) as luminophores in light-emitting devices (LEDs) and outlines the operating mechanisms of four types of QD-LED. The key scientific and technological challenges facing QD-LED commercialization are identified, together with on-going strategies to overcome these challenges.

Subject term: Lasers, LEDs and light sources


Progress Article

Optically induced 'negative forces' pp24 - 27

Aristide Dogariu, Sergey Sukhov1 & José Sáenz


Attracting objects with optical beams may seem like science fiction, but various schemes already do this, albeit with some caveats and limitations. The most recent progress in this emerging field is reviewed, with particular emphasis on manipulation of small objects by optically induced 'negative forces'.

Subject term: Fundamental optical physics



Entanglement-enhanced probing of a delicate material system pp28 - 32

Florian Wolfgramm, Chiara Vitelli, Federica A. Beduini, Nicolas Godbout & Morgan W. Mitchell


Researchers report the entanglement-enhanced measurement of a delicate material system, in which they non-destructively probe an 85Rb atomic spin ensemble by near-resonant Faraday rotation. They use narrowband, atom-resonant ‘NOON’ states to beat the standard quantum limit of sensitivity by more than five standard deviations, both on a per-photon and a per-damage basis.

Subject terms: Imaging and sensing | Quantum optics

See also: News and Views by Pryde

Frequency-multiplexed in vivo multiphoton phosphorescence lifetime microscopy pp33 - 37

Scott S. Howard, Adam Straub, Nicholas G. Horton, Demirhan Kobat & Chris Xu


A parallel implementation of multifocal multiphoton modulation microscopy allows simultaneous phosphorescent lifetime and intensity imaging in vivo at speeds 100 times faster than conventional configurations. Three-dimensional imaging of a phosphorescent quenching dye is also presented.

Subject terms: Imaging and sensing | Biophotonics

Spatial and spectral coherent control with frequency combs pp38 - 42

Itan Barmes, Stefan Witte & Kjeld S. E. Eikema


Coherent control is a powerful tool for controlling light–matter interactions in time and frequency. Now, scientists show that counter-propagating broadband pulses can be used to generate fully controlled spatial excitation patterns. This spatial control approach also reduces decoherence, providing a high-frequency resolution similar to that of an optical frequency comb.

Subject terms: Fundamental optical physics | Ultrafast photonics

See also: News and Views by Weiner

Focusing of X-ray free-electron laser pulses with reflective optics pp43 - 47

Hirokatsu Yumoto, Hidekazu Mimura, Takahisa Koyama, Satoshi Matsuyama, Kensuke Tono, Tadashi Togashi, Yuichi Inubushi, Takahiro Sato, Takashi Tanaka, Takashi Kimura, Hikaru Yokoyama, Jangwoo Kim, Yasuhisa Sano, Yousuke Hachisu, Makina Yabashi, Haruhiko Ohashi, Hitoshi Ohmori, Tetsuya Ishikawa & Kazuto Yamauchi


Researchers focus 10 keV X-ray free-electron laser radiation to an area of 0.95 µm × 1.20 µm with near-100%-efficiency using reflective optics. This approach increases the fluence by a factor of 40,000 and provides a power density of 6 × 1017 W cm−2.

Subject terms: Lasers, LEDs and light sources | Nanophotonics | X-rays

Direct determination of the transition to localization of light in three dimensions pp48 - 52

T. Sperling, W. Bührer, C. M. Aegerter & G. Maret


Experimental demonstration of Anderson localization in three dimensions is a challenging task. Here researchers present a direct and absorption-independent measure of the localization length and evidence for a localization transition in three dimensions.

Subject term: Fundamental optical physics

See also: News and Views by Conti



Photoconductivity of biased graphene pp53 - 59

Marcus Freitag, Tony Low, Fengnian Xia & Phaedon Avouris


Scientists report that the photovoltaic effect and a photo-induced bolometric effect, rather than thermoelectric effects, dominate the photoresponse during a classic photoconductivity experiment in biased graphene. The findings shed light on the hot-electron-driven photoresponse in graphene and its energy loss pathway via phonons.

Subject terms: Optoelectronic devices and components | Novel materials and engineered structures

Deterministic polarization chaos from a laser diode pp60 - 65

Martin Virte, Krassimir Panajotov, Hugo Thienpont & Marc Sciamanna


Chaotic behaviour is observed in the polarization of the output from a vertical-cavity surface emitting laser without the need for any external stimulus or feedback. The origin is nonlinear coupling between two elliptically polarized modes within the device.

Subject term: Lasers, LEDs and light sources

Suppression of interactions in multimode random lasers in the Anderson localized regime pp66 - 71

Peter Stano & Philippe Jacquod


Random lasing in the presence of nonlinearities and disordered gain media is still poorly understood. Researchers now present a semiclassical theory for multimode random lasing in the strongly scattering regime. They show that Anderson localization — a wave-interference effect — is not affected by the presence of nonlinearities, but instead suppresses interactions between simultaneously lasing modes.

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

Bell's measure in classical optical coherence pp72 - 78

Kumel H. Kagalwala, Giovanni Di Giuseppe, Ayman F. Abouraddy & Bahaa E. A. Saleh


Researchers demonstrate that Bell's measure — a commonly used test of quantum nonlocality — can be used in classical optical schemes to separate incoherence associated with statistical fluctuations from incoherence based on correlation. This technique may be useful for quantum information applications such as classical optical coherence theory and optical signal processing.

Subject terms: Fundamental optical physics | Quantum optics

See also: Interview with Ayman Abouraddy & Kumel Kagalwala



Quantum tools for classical coherence p80

Interview with Ayman Abouraddy & Kumel Kagalwala


Optical coherence theory has a long and proud tradition. Nature Photonics spoke to Ayman Abouraddy and Kumel Kagalwala to learn about their recent work, which may reshape this established field.


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