Stories tagged optics

Another danger associated with alcoholic beverages. Be careful not to store your vodka bottles in the way of direct sunlight. Or get ready to call the fire department.

Researchers have developed several ways to potentially mass-produce silk without moths or spiders. The silk can be a hard solid, gel, liquid, sponge, or fiber, is stronger than kevlar, non-toxic, and biodegradable. It's perfectly clear and can be used to create plastics, optical sensors, medicine delivery capsules implanted inside the body--the applications are pretty huge and pretty green.

There's already a silk tissue scaffold on the market that can be used to regenerate ligaments or other damaged tissue--the scaffold is implanted into the body in place of damaged tissue, and as new tissue grows around it, the silk slowly breaks down into amino acids and is reused by the body. How cool is that?!

Jewel  bug colors
Jewel bug colorsCourtesy arquera
Georgia Tech scientists provided a detailed explanation of how the jeweled beetle Chrysina gloriosa creates the striking colors using a unique helical structure that reflects light of two specific colors.

A cholesteric liquid crystalline material, which self-assembles into a complex arrangement of polygonal shapes each less than 10 microns in size, causes interference within reflected light resulting in bright green light with a wavelength of 530 nanometers mixed with yellow light in a wavelength of 580 nanometers.

Learn more by reading this Georgia Tech news release.

Learn more about the blackest black ever

Two researchers, Eduard Driessen, MSc, and Dr Michiel de Dood, have demonstrated that at a thickness of 4.5 nanometer niobiumnitride (NbN) is ultra-absorbent. They have recorded a light absorption of almost 100%, while the best light absorption to date was 50%. Science Daily

Click here to access the research paper "the perfect absorber" in American Institute of Physics. (3pg PDF)

Optical telegraph

by Gene on Apr. 10th, 2008

Long-distance, high-speed communication…in 1791. I dunno, I just think it’s kinda cool!


New nano material a black hole for reflections.

Silica nanorods make a super dark surface.: This SEM image shows the silica nanorods mounted at exactly 45 degrees which makes the surface super anti-reflective.
Silica nanorods make a super dark surface.: This SEM image shows the silica nanorods mounted at exactly 45 degrees which makes the surface super anti-reflective.

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a material that reflects virtually no light. By depositing layers of silica nanorods at an angle of 45 degrees on top of a thin film of aluminum nitride, a new world record has been set for anti-reflective surfacing.

The technique allows the researchers to strongly reduce or even eliminate reflection at all wavelengths and incoming angles of light, Schubert said. Conventional anti-reflection coatings, although widely used, work only at a single wavelength and when the light source is positioned directly perpendicular to the material.

Where will this make a difference?

The new optical coating could find use in just about any application where light travels into or out of a material, such as:

  • More efficient solar cells
  • Brighter LEDs
  • High-reflectance mirrors
  • Black body radiation
  • Optical interconnects (photonics)

RPI press release here:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute press release