optics

  • Quantum batteries a step closer with superabsorption breakthrough

    Research gets us closer to super-fast charging batteries.

    Quantum batteries are now closer to reality, with proof of the idea of superabsorption by an international team of re...

    Physics January 15, 2022
  • Explainer

    How do magnifying glasses work?

    How can you make things look bigger with a bit of glass?

    How do magnifying glasses work?Elwin A magnifying glass is a great thing to bring on a summer evening walk – you c...

    Physics January 13, 2022
  • Getting a clearer view around the corner

    Research takes a new approach to non-line-of-site imaging.

    Researchers from the US and Spain say they have drawn on the lessons of classical optics to show that it is possible ...

    Engineering August 5, 2019
  • Human aesthetics obstructs tech efficiency

    Letting computers work out design often results in incomprehensible forms – and that’s exactly wh...

    Computer-assisted advances in optics, photonics, and related sciences are producing new designs so different from any...

    Technology July 12, 2018
  • Colourful crystals

    Polarising filters reveal hidden properties in these crystals.

    Crystals of the antiviral drug 2-3 dideoxyadenosine, also known as ddA, seen through a microscope under polarised lig...

    Physics May 10, 2018
  • Eyes of the scallop

    Scallops see with an array of up to 200 eyes that use mirrors instead of lenses.

    Three eyes of a Pecten maximus scallop. Credit: Dan-Eric Nilsson, Lund University Researchers have obtained a detail...

    Biology December 4, 2017
  • Need a better microscope? Add mirrors

    An elegant way to overcome the problems of lens-making.

    From pre-classical times onwards, it could be argued, lens-makers have been the unsung heroes of science. As early a...

    Physics November 14, 2017
  • Friday profile: making tiny tech from sunlight

    Baohua Jia’s research is producing heavy results from light science. Amy Middleton reports.

    Microphotonics – a field of light science that deals with nano-fabrication and the manipulation of microscopic partic...

    Technology October 5, 2017
  • Tougher, shinier mirrors boost telescope power

    A durable silver coating for mirrors may provide an easy upgrade for optical telescopes around th...

    The world’s big astronomical telescopes could soon all get a performance upgrade without the need for installing bigg...

    Space September 20, 2017
  • Schlieren optics and shadowgraphs

    Revealing minute changes in the refractive index of air.

    The optical technique known as schlieren photography allows us to see small changes in the index of refraction in air...

    Physics July 17, 2017
  • Vantablack, the blackest material ever made

    Light-trapping carbon nanotubes are the secret ingredient.

    The futuristic, eye-wrenching Vantablack coating is billed as “blacker than black”, and it lives up to the claim. The...

    Materials May 31, 2017
  • Groovy light-absorbing films could boost night vision

    Infrared technology may become a lot cheaper and easier to use. Belinda Smith reports.

    Thin grooves, etched in a film, direct light sideways. The end result? Almost all light is absorbed. A smooth layer, ...

    Technology May 26, 2016