Volume 5 Issue 10, October 2011

Volume 5 Issue 10

Polymer optics integrated with microfluidics provides an excellent platform for biosensing.

Interview with Frances Ligler

Image: Georg Wieser

Cover design: Tom Wilson


  • Editorial |

    Liquid waveguides, deformable lenses, microdroplet lasers and biosensors are all technologies based on optofluidics. Now the field may even be able to help with issues such as energy production.


  • Interview |

    Optofluidics brings together light and liquids to provide technologies such as fluid waveguides, deformable lenses and microdroplet lasers. Nature Photonics spoke to Frances Ligler about the origins of the field and where it might be heading.

    • David Pile
  • Interview |

    Achieving dynamic optical control of exciton polariton quantum flow could provide a deeper understanding of quantum behaviour and inspire new types of device, says Daniele Sanvitto from the Istituto Nanoscienze in Italy.

    • Noriaki Horiuchi

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    Researchers have demonstrated that selectively exciting ensembles of laser modes using an innovative pumping scheme can tune the emission lines of a random laser from weakly interacting to strongly correlated, thus paving the way towards the realization of mode-locked random lasers.

    • Heinz Kalt
  • News & Views |

    Surface acoustic waves can actively modulate the optical mode of a photonic crystal defect cavity. Fast tuning rates, compared with the typical lifetimes of optical emitters and photons inside the cavity, pave the way for deeper insights into cavity quantum electrodynamics.

    • Claudia Ruppert
    •  & Markus Betz
  • News & Views |

    A main attraction of laser-driven electron accelerators is their absence of cavity walls, which can break down in the presence of intense electric fields. Now it seems that the inclusion of a hollow glass fibre cavity could lead to more efficient acceleration at lower laser intensities.

    • Donald P. Umstadter
  • News & Views |

    In recent years, significant progress has been made towards putting information theory on the footing of quantum mechanics. Researchers have now shown how optical fibres with zero quantum capacity can be super-activated to allow for perfect quantum communication.

    • Geza Giedke
    •  & Michael M. Wolf
  • News & Views |

    It has long been known that light can be slowed and stopped in an atomic medium using electromagnetically induced transparency. Researchers have now shown how an optical resonator can help a single photon induce its own transparency, which could have exciting applications in quantum information science.

    • P. K. Lam
    •  & B. C. Buchler



  • Letter |

    The authors demonstrate dynamic tuning of a photonic-crystal cavity by surface acoustic waves at frequencies exceeding 1.7 GHz. The tuning is claimed to preserve the quality factor and to be an order of magnitude faster than alternative approaches.

    • Daniel A. Fuhrmann
    • , Susanna M. Thon
    • , Hyochul Kim
    • , Dirk Bouwmeester
    • , Pierre M. Petroff
    • , Achim Wixforth
    •  & Hubert J. Krenner
  • Letter |

    Vortex–antivortex pairs in a polariton condensate are experimentally trapped and manipulated by a light beam in a semiconductor microcavity. Quantum hydrodynamical effects are observed and corroborated by time-dependent simulations.

    • D. Sanvitto
    • , S. Pigeon
    • , A. Amo
    • , D. Ballarini
    • , M. De Giorgi
    • , I. Carusotto
    • , R. Hivet
    • , F. Pisanello
    • , V. G. Sala
    • , P. S. S. Guimaraes
    • , R. Houdré
    • , E. Giacobino
    • , C. Ciuti
    • , A. Bramati
    •  & G. Gigli
  • Letter |

    Researchers report the first observation of the synchronous oscillation of electromagnetic modes in a cavity — known as mode-locking — in random lasers.

    • Marco Leonetti
    • , Claudio Conti
    •  & Cefe Lopez
  • Letter |

    Based on CMOS-compatible spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction (SPIDER), researchers show that they are able to characterize both the amplitude and phase of ultrafast optical pulses with a time–bandwidth product of more than 100.

    • Alessia Pasquazi
    • , Marco Peccianti
    • , Yongwoo Park
    • , Brent E. Little
    • , Sai T. Chu
    • , Roberto Morandotti
    • , José Azaña
    •  & David J. Moss
  • Letter |

    Researchers have shown that imperfect quantum channels have a strong kind of synergy: there exist pairs of discrete, memoryless quantum channels that acquire positive quantum capacity when used together. Here the authors show that this superactivation phenomenon also occurs in the more realistic setting of optical channels with attenuation and Gaussian noise.

    • Graeme Smith
    • , John A. Smolin
    •  & Jon Yard
  • Letter |

    Researchers report the preparation and storage of frequency-uncorrelated narrowband (5 MHz) entangled photons from a cavity-enhanced spontaneous parametric downconversion source. Electromagnetically induced transparency was implemented using ultraviolet pump pulses, and the violation of Bell's inequality was clearly observed for storage times of up to 200 ns.

    • Han Zhang
    • , Xian-Min Jin
    • , Jian Yang
    • , Han-Ning Dai
    • , Sheng-Jun Yang
    • , Tian-Ming Zhao
    • , Jun Rui
    • , Yu He
    • , Xiao Jiang
    • , Fan Yang
    • , Ge-Sheng Pan
    • , Zhen-Sheng Yuan
    • , Youjin Deng
    • , Zeng-Bing Chen
    • , Xiao-Hui Bao
    • , Shuai Chen
    • , Bo Zhao
    •  & Jian-Wei Pan
  • Letter |

    Researchers demonstrate all-optical light switching based on electromagnetically induced transparency at the single-photon level using a Coulomb crystal of 40Ca+ ions enclosed in a moderately high-finesse linear cavity. Changes from essentially full transmission to full absorption for a single-photon probe field were achieved within unprecedentedly narrow windows of 47.5 ± 2.4 kHz.

    • Magnus Albert
    • , Aurélien Dantan
    •  & Michael Drewsen


  • Focus |


    Although the term 'optofluidics' is less than 10 years old, the combination of light and non-solids is being exploited by researchers who are finding applications in fields ranging from imaging, detection of chemical or biological agents and particle control, through to enhancing photonic circuits and energy generation. The October 2011 issue of Nature Photonicshas a special focus on optofluidics dedicated to some of the latest advances in field.