The last 2015 issue of Europhysics News [EPN] is a special double issue devoted to light as a tribute to the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies [IYL2015].
Luc Bergé, chair of the Quantum Electronics and Optics Division of the European Physical Society [EPS-QEOD], acted as Guest Editor for this last issue of the year.
Throughout the year 2015, the EPS-QEOD supported the International Year of Light by organising conferences dedicated to light in Europe, by attributing prestigious prizes in the fields of optics and photonics, and by promoting new events for young researchers.
In this special issue on the Science of Light, Luc Bergé selected outstanding and world-famous authors to write featured articles, offering a broad state of the art in optics.
This will give the readers different outlooks and promising applications of light in modern branches of optics.
Enjoy your reading and let there be Light!
Europhysics News, Vol. 46/5 and 46/6 – November/December 2015 can be downloaded on the magazine’s website.
Foreword on the special issue on the science of light
p. 12, by V.R. Velasco, L.J.F. Hermans and L. Bergé
p. 13, by P. Russell
Light trapped in hair-thin optical “wires” made of transparent materials such as glass can be piped around tight corners in computer chips, across oceans in telecommunications and back and forth inside a cavity in lasers. By eliminating beam diffraction, and allowing precise control over the beam shape and the chromatic dispersion, optical waveguides make many astonishing things possible.
Light for bio-imaging
p. 19, by J. Bewersdorf
The biological sciences have seen tremendous progress over the last decades – sequencing the human genome is just one example – and biology has been proclaimed to be the scientific discipline of the 21st century. These advances have been enabled through tools developed by physicists. Light and light-based technologies, in particular, have been of utmost importance to this progress.
Light for brevity
p. 23, by A. L’Huillier
The shortest time interval controlled by a human being is the duration of a light pulse as short as only 100 attoseconds, i.e., 10-16 s. This “attosecond” light pulse belongs to the extreme ultraviolet range (XUV) of the electromagnetic spectrum, with central photon
energy typically between 20 and 200 eV. Related to its brevity, an attosecond pulse has a broad bandwidth covering tens of eV. These are natural time and energy scales to study electron dynamics in atoms and molecules.
Controlling light at the nanoscale
p. 27, by M. Frimmer and L. Novotny
Nanophotonics aims to control light on length scales smaller than the wavelength. By harnessing the interaction of light with matter, nanophotonics has allowed to mold the flow of light and control its emission and absorption on a length scale of just a few nanometers.
p. 31, by G. Mourou, J.A. Wheeler and T. Tajima
By the compression of petawatt pulses to multi-exawatt, a new route for the generation of Schwinger intensities capable of producing highenergy radiation and particle beams with extremely short time structure down to the attosecond-zeptosecond regime is being presented. Far from the traditional laser investigation in the eV regime, this laser-based approach offers a new paradigm to investigate the structure of vacuum and applications to subatomic physics.
p. 36, by N. Gisin, S. Tanzilli and W. Tittel
Entanglement is the physical property that marks the most striking deviation of the quantum from the classical world. It has been mentioned first by the great Austrian Physicist Erwin Schr¨odinger in 1935 (an introduction to this and other quantum phenomena is given in ). Yet, despite this theoretical prediction now being 80 years old, and the famous experimental verifications by Alain Aspect dating back to the early eighties, entanglement and its use entered mainstream physics as a key element of quantum information science only in the 1990’s.
Letter: about light, cosmic messages from the past
p. 40, by F. Israel
Physics in daily life: dipping bird
p. 41, by L.J.F. Hermans
Crossing borders: physics and politics: a happy marriage?
p. 44, by H.C.W. Beijerinck