Table of contents



Transcending limitations p81


Obtaining new insights into yet unexplained phenomena and making the impossible possible are among the main motivations for any scientist. Going beyond limitations is the key challenge.


Books and Arts

New titles at a glance p83

Three Dimensional Solar Cells Based on Optical Confinement Geometries by Yuan Li



News and Views

Optical physics: Magnetic appeal in strained lattice pp86 - 87

Thomas Lepetit


Using strain to induce a pseudomagnetic field in a photonic lattice at optical frequencies might bring improvements to fields such as photonic crystal fibres, supercontinuum generation and frequency combs.

See also: Article with Rechtsman et al.

Quantum optics: Receiver beats quantum limit pp87 - 89

Kenji Tsujino


The report of a quantum receiver that can distinguish quadrature-phase-shifted keyed signals with an error rate beyond the standard quantum limit bodes well for improving the performance of coherent optical communication systems.

See also: Article by Becerra et al.

Photonic crystals: Turning data on a dime pp89 - 91

Peter Bermel


By enlisting help from a robot to assemble precise structures, researchers have guided telecommunications-wavelength light around multiple hairpin turns in a three-dimensional photonic crystal.

See also: Letter by Ishizaki et al.

Microscopy: Label-free nanoscopy of living cells pp91 - 92

Gary Brooker


A holographic microscope capable of dynamically imaging unstained living cells at resolutions beyond the diffraction limit could prove extremely useful for studying biological cells.

See also: Letter by Cotte et al.

Miniature sources: Light boxes p92

David Pile




Advances in multiphoton microscopy technology pp93 - 101

Erich E. Hoover & Jeff A. Squier


The ability to dynamically image features deep within living organisms, permitting real-time analysis of cellular structure and function, is important for biological science. This Review article discusses multiphoton microscopy capable of such analysis, along with technologies that are pushing the limits of phenomena that can be quantitatively imaged.

Dispersive Fourier transformation for fast continuous single-shot measurements pp102 - 112

K. Goda & B. Jalali


It's challenging to measure non-repetitive events in real time in the field of instrumentation and measurement. Dispersive Fourier transformation is an emerging method that permits capture of rare events, such as optical rogue waves and rare cancer cells in blood. This Review article covers the principle of dispersive Fourier transformation and its implementation in diverse applications.



Marker-free phase nanoscopy pp113 - 117

Yann Cotte, Fatih Toy, Pascal Jourdain, Nicolas Pavillon, Daniel Boss, Pierre Magistretti, Pierre Marquet & Christian Depeursinge


By recording digital holograms created from different illumination directions and subsequently processing them in a complex deconvolution scheme, scientists are able to capture details of living biological samples with subwavelength resolution.

Subject terms: Imaging and sensing | Biophotonics

See also: News and Views by Brooker

Radiofrequency signal-generation system with over seven octaves of continuous tuning pp118 - 122

Garrett J. Schneider, Janusz A. Murakowski, Christopher A. Schuetz, Shouyuan Shi & Dennis W. Prather


Researchers use sideband injection-locked lasers to generate low-noise, high-frequency radio signals that can be tuned over the range of 0.5–110 GHz. This technique is amenable to compact integration and, in principle, operation at even higher frequencies.

Subject term: Fibre optics and optical communications

Experimental demonstration of optical transport, sorting and self-arrangement using a ‘tractor beam’ pp123 - 127

O. Brzobohatý, V. Karásek, M. Šiler, L. Chvátal, T. Čižmár & P. Zemánek


The concept of an optical pulling force, or ‘tractor beam’, has received increasing interest following recent theoretical proposals. Scientists have now experimentally verified this concept and demonstrated that the orientation of the beam's linear polarization strongly influences the behaviour of the object being pulled, in particular the direction of its delivery.

Subject term: Fundamental optical physics

Real-time observation of ultrafast Rabi oscillations between excitons and plasmons in metal nanostructures with J-aggregates pp128 - 132

Parinda Vasa, Wei Wang, Robert Pomraenke, Melanie Lammers, Margherita Maiuri, Cristian Manzoni, Giulio Cerullo & Christoph Lienau


Researchers observe Rabi oscillations in a metal structure with a J-aggregate nonlinear medium and coherent energy transfer between excitonic quantum emitters and surface plasmons. The coupling energy is controlled on the 10 fs timescale by varying the exciton density. This work demonstrates the potential of nonlinear ultrafast plasmonics.

Subject terms: Spectroscopy | Plasmonics | Ultrafast photonics | Nanophotonics

Realization of three-dimensional guiding of photons in photonic crystals pp133 - 137

Kenji Ishizaki, Masaki Koumura, Katsuyoshi Suzuki, Kou Gondaira & Susumu Noda


Researchers demonstrate the three-dimensional routing of light through a three-dimensional photonic crystal. Before transmission, the light is bent both vertically and horizontally, split and trapped.

Subject terms: Novel materials and engineered structures | Nanophotonics

See also: News and Views by Bermel

Phase modulation at the few-photon level for weak-nonlinearity-based quantum computing pp138 - 141

Vivek Venkataraman, Kasturi Saha & Alexander L. Gaeta


Researchers demonstrate large cross-phase shifts of 0.3 mrad per photon in a single pass through room-temperature Rb atoms confined to a hollow-core photonic bandgap fibre. The response time of less than 5 ns indicates that phase modulation bandwidths greater than 50 MHz are possible with a highly sensitive atomic-vapour-based scheme.

Subject terms: Quantum optics | Nonlinear optics | Fibre optics and optical communications | Nanophotonics



Limits on classical communication from quantum entropy power inequalities pp142 - 146

Robert König & Graeme Smith


Researchers provide tight bounds for the classical information capacity of a Bosonic thermal noise channel. They also compare these limits with the well-known lower bound of the channel and an upper bound first introduced by Holevo and Werner in their seminal work on the subject.

Subject terms: Fundamental optical physics | Quantum optics | Fibre optics and optical communications

Experimental demonstration of a receiver beating the standard quantum limit for multiple nonorthogonal state discrimination pp147 - 152

F. E. Becerra, J. Fan, G. Baumgartner, J. Goldhar, J. T. Kosloski & A. Migdall


Researchers present a quantum receiver based on a novel adaptive measurement scheme and a high-bandwidth, high-detection-efficiency system for single-photon counting. The receiver unconditionally discriminates between four nonorthogonal coherent states with error probabilities 6 dB below the standard quantum limit for a wide range of input powers.

Subject terms: Imaging and sensing | Fundamental optical physics | Quantum optics | Fibre optics and optical communications

See also: News and Views by Tsujino

Strain-induced pseudomagnetic field and photonic Landau levels in dielectric structures pp153 - 158

Mikael C. Rechtsman, Julia M. Zeuner, Andreas Tünnermann, Stefan Nolte, Mordechai Segev & Alexander Szameit


Magnetic effects are fundamentally weak at optical frequencies. Now, by applying inhomogeneous strain in photonic band structures of a honeycomb lattice of waveguides, scientists show experimentally and theoretically that it is possible to induce a pseudomagnetic field at optical frequencies. The field yields 'photonic Landau levels', which suggests the possibility of achieving greater field enhancements and slow-light effects in aperiodic photonic crystal structures than those available in periodic structures.

Subject terms: Fundamental optical physics | Novel materials and engineered structures

See also: News and Views by Lepetit | Interview with Mordechai Segev, Mikael Rechtsman, Alexander Szameit & Julia Zeuner



Can strain magnetize light? p160

Interview with Mordechai Segev, Mikael Rechtsman, Alexander Szameit & Julia Zeuner


Strain in photonic structures can induce pseudomagnetic fields and Landau levels. Nature Photonics spoke to Mordechai Segev, Mikael Rechtsman, Alexander Szameit and Julia Zeuner about their unique approach.


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