You wouldn’t guess Wayne Maines’ story by looking at him. The brewpub we’re sitting in has just opened and there aren’t many lunch customers even though it’s tourist season in Portland, ME. Dressed in a button-up shirt, Maines eyes me and my voice recorder cautiously as we chat.
Anyone with a color printer knows that selling replacement ink cartridges is the quickest way to become a millionaire. But what if your printer never needed a single drop of ink to produce color images at impossibly high resolutions? A new laser printer can already do that by etching microscopic patterns onto sheets…
German scientists have constructed a powerful new light system that can focus energy equivalent to the radiation of 10,000 suns onto a single spot. Eventually, they hope, this “artificial sun” could be used to produce environmentally-friendly fuels.
Researchers really want to make good three-dimensional displays. It is so much harder than you might think—at this point, we have lots, but most attempts are literally smoke (light projected and scattered on some medium) and mirrors (optical illusions). There aren’t many examples of voxels, 3D pixels, lined up to…
Late last weekend, semi-pro photographer Timothy Joseph Elzinga woke up in the early hours of the morning to attend to his crying two-year-old son. When he looked out the window, he was greeted with a rare and spectacular sight known as light pillars. Smartly, he picked up his camera and captured some of the most…
Researchers from Europe have developed a solar simulator that replicates the heat and light of the sun’s radiation—and then some. The system, with a luminous flux equivalent to over 20,000 suns, is being used to test various materials in extreme conditions.
Rembrandt was renowned for his masterful use of light and dark contrasts, and the precise proportions in his paintings and etchings. Now a British artist claims the 17th century painter likely used combinations of mirrors and lenses to project images onto a drawing surface to create them—especially his famous…
These beetles may look like two different species, but they’re the same individual. The difference lies in how they were photographed, using a new lens that allows scientists to “see” one of the most fundamental properties of biology: chirality.
A team of researchers has managed to boost the amount of light an LED emits by 60 percent simply by shaping its outer surface to resemble the outside of a firefly’s lantern.
They don’t look much, but these little black balls harness the power of bright light to zip across the surface of water—pulling up to 150 times their own weight in the process.
The Internet is a wonderful place. Case in point: there’s an entire YouTube channel called Let’s Melt This, devoted to videos of, well, stuff melting. In the latest installment, the team placed two pennies under a Fresnel lens to see how long it would take for them to melt under the concentrated heat of the sun.
Want to make sure you back something up indefinitely? Then you could do worse than a digital data storage technique that uses laser light to store 360 terabytes of information on nanostructured quartz for up to 14 billion years.
A team of researchers has achieved the fastest ever transmission rate for digital information between a single transmitter and receiver, sending data optically at a frankly ridiculous 1.125 terabits per second.
Turning off a light just became a much smaller task. A team of researchers has developed the world’s smallest optical switch, which uses just a single atom to control the flow of light.
Imagine a world where robots creep up on you: Electric motors just a gentle whir, hard shells changing color to blend in with their surroundings. Well, there’s no need to imagine—it’s happened.
‘Image enhance’ just got a little more real, for microscopes at least. A team of researchers form UCLA has developed a new sensor and software that turns an optical microscope into a super-resolution imaging device.
Many have savored the arresting visual beauty of Raphael’s “Madonna del Prato” (1505). Now you can listen to it as well, thanks to a new series by Athens-based artist and physicist Yiannis Kranidiotis, who transformed this and other classic paintings into haunting digital soundscapes.
I bet you’ve never thought about how giant clams will revolutionize future technology. It’s okay. You probably didn’t know about the incredible way these massive mollusks turn sunlight into power.
Who doesn’t love a surprise at this time of year? Well, researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in France certainly do, so they’ve created a new kind of inkjet printing technique that produces images that appear different depending on the viewing angle.