Reviews & Analysis

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  • Recent progress in terahertz scanning probe microscopy is reviewed with an emphasis on techniques that access length scales below 100 nm relevant to material science. An outlook on the future of nanoscale terahertz scanning probe microscopy is also provided.

    • T. L. Cocker
    • V. Jelic
    • F. A. Hegmann
    Review Article
  • Nearly 100 years after the prediction of Brillouin light-scattering spectroscopy, or Brillouin–Mandelstam light-scattering spectroscopy, the effect has proved itself a powerful tool for decades. Now its application to probing confined acoustic phonons, phononic metamaterials and magnons is reviewed.

    • Fariborz Kargar
    • Alexander A. Balandin
    Review Article
  • The adiabatic encirclement of exceptional points in non-Hermitian systems is known to produce surprising non-adiabatic effects. A new study finds a cheat code to exactly emulate this behaviour without ever having to produce an exceptional point.

    • Seunghwi Kim
    • Gaurav Bahl
    News & Views
  • Reducing the footprint of optical spectrometers is a critical requirement for many in-field applications. Now, a single black phosphorus photodetector with a wavelength-scale size enables mid-infrared computational spectrometry.

    • Vicente Durán
    News & Views
  • A ‘twin-field’ repeater-less protocol has enabled an experimental demonstration of secure quantum key distribution over a 511-km long-haul optical fibre link.

    • Charles C.-W. Lim
    • Chao Wang
    News & Views
  • A chip-based optical frequency comb has enabled the realization of a 300 GHz signal with record low phase noise. The development could yield ultra-compact, ultra-low-noise sources for millimetre-wave applications in telecommunications, remote sensing and precision spectroscopy.

    • Yann Le Coq
    News & Views
  • The unique optical properties of graphene were combined with lithium-ion battery technology to produce multispectral optical devices, with colour-changing capabilities.

    • Andrea C. Ferrari
    News & Views
  • Short period, femtosecond transient gratings in a sample can now be produced by X-rays. The approach promises to reveal the excitation behaviour of complex materials with high temporal and spatial resolution.

    • Martin Beye
    News & Views
  • Tunnelling currents inside plasmonic nanostructures are fast enough to gain direct access to the oscillating electric field of near-infrared and visible light, opening up exciting routes towards attosecond metrology of light–matter interaction and unique approaches to spectroscopy.

    • Nicholas Karpowicz
    News & Views
  • The successful demonstration of two-stage acceleration driven by terahertz pulses bodes well for the future development of compact, efficient particle accelerators.

    • Emilio A. Nanni
    News & Views
  • A new way to define the shape of tiny light-emitting semiconductor pixels provides a means to fabricate arrays of InGaN blue micro-LEDs with a resolution as high as 8,500 pixels per inch.

    • Ulrich T. Schwarz
    News & Views
  • Photonics offers high hopes for next-generation neural network processors. Now it has been shown that even entirely using off-the-shelf photonics allows surpassing speed and energy efficiency of cutting-edge GPUs.

    • Daniel Brunner
    • Demetri Psaltis
    News & Views
  • Progress in the field of quantum-photonics applications of metasurfaces is reviewed. Cutting-edge research, including the development of optical chips supporting high-dimensional quantum entanglement and advanced quantum tomography, is summarized.

    • Alexander S. Solntsev
    • Girish S. Agarwal
    • Yuri S. Kivshar
    Perspective
  • Optical acoustic sensors have gained interest for use in photoacoustic imaging systems, but can they dethrone conventional piezoelectric sensors altogether?

    • David C. Garrett
    • Lihong V. Wang
    News & Views
  • Four-wave mixing near atomic resonances offers new opportunities for spectral control of extreme ultraviolet pulses.

    • John E. Beetar
    • Michael Chini
    News & Views
  • Recent effort in controlling the structure of light in all its degrees of freedom and dimensions has pushed the limits of structured light and broadened its potential beyond orbital angular momentum, two-dimensional fields, qubits and biphotons, and linear optical manipulation.

    • Andrew Forbes
    • Michael de Oliveira
    • Mark R. Dennis
    Review Article
  • Laser-like radiation with a very large spectral coverage is obtained with a comb-like spectrum by concatenating nonlinear processes. Such a light source is extremely useful for detecting molecular trace gases.

    • Akira Ozawa
    • Thomas Udem
    News & Views
  • More atoms can not only absorb more light but, if prepared in a particular quantum state, can also do so faster than single atoms. Now, researchers have experimentally demonstrated this time-reversed process of superradiance.

    • Matthias Zens
    • Stefan Rotter
    News & Views
  • A new paradigm is emerging in which molecular properties are controlled by modifying the local electromagnetic environment, rather than the traditional approach of changing their composition or structure. Now, a tool to investigate such effects has been demonstrated that should accelerate progress in this exciting field.

    • Bill Barnes
    News & Views