Editorials

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  • News of a 1.3-MJ-output-energy experiment at the National Ignition Facility in the United States in August has raised hopes that laser-based fusion is back on track.

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  • Solution-processing of light-emitting devices is attracting much attention due to low manufacturing costs and access to new materials. In this month’s Focus issue we highlight some of the advances and challenges in the field.

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  • Artificial intelligence deployment in photonics has spawned much research activity during 2020, but optimism must be balanced by realism. This month we celebrate the advances in the field with a focus issue.

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  • Research activities in the areas of X-ray imaging and ultraviolet sterilization illustrate how photonics is helping to combat the threat of COVID-19.

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  • Integrated quantum photonic chips offer the promise of a convenient, scalable platform for performing tasks such as quantum communication and information processing.

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  • Does the popularity of a recent online photonics conference signify a growing appetite for a change in scientific interaction?

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  • The certification of solar cells with exceptional performance is now common practice in order to ratify claims. Should similar schemes be introduced for other optoelectronic devices?

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  • Nature Photonics pays tribute to the pioneering scientists that helped define the field of photonics in the latter part of the twentieth century with the launch of an online collection of profiles.

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  • Frequency combs measure optical frequencies with an unprecedented precision, allowing myriad applications in optical metrology, high-precision spectroscopy, optical atomic clocks, attosecond science, astronomy and, recently, quantum information processing.

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  • The race to develop self-driving cars means that optical LiDAR is forecast to become a US$5 billion market within 5 years. Photonics start-ups in the area are finding themselves at the centre of a frenzy of acquisition and investment.

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  • The International Day of Light is an achievement that the entire photonics community can be proud of. Let’s be inspired by the celebrations to begin planning for next year’s event.

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  • Progress in silicon photonics is delivering chips that can densely pack photonics and electronics together and perform multidimensional quantum information processing.

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  • Scientific claims, particularly those related to devices, are often backed up by standardized characterization. In fields without accepted standards, is it beneficial to strive to establish them?

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  • The exploitation of non-Hermitian quantum physics concepts in classical photonics has spawned much research activity during 2017. We conclude the year with a focus issue on parity–time symmetry and concepts with overlapping goals, in particular topological and non-reciprocal photonics.

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  • The Nobel Prize-winning observation of gravitational waves has required laser interferometry to be pushed to extreme limits of sensitivity.

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  • The opening of the superconducting European X-ray free-electron laser in Hamburg, Germany provides exciting opportunities for exploring a completely new world of science.

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  • More than half a century after describing interference of discrete states with a continuum, Ugo Fano's work is as relevant as ever. And Fermi beat him to it.

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