The Laser Mėgajoule (LMJ), located at the CEA Cesta site near Bordeaux in the Aquitaine region of France, is a government-funded project aiming to achieve inertial confinement fusion (ICF) using 176 laser beams to deliver up to 1.8MJ of energy. This is one of the latest large-scale investigative projects to break the billion euro barrier, and will no doubt be at the centre of more ‘is science worth the money’ debate when it begins operation in the next few years.
Computers that function like the human brain could soon become a reality thanks to work carried out on novel, light-sensitive optical fibres. The research, published in Advanced Optical Materials, has the potential for faster and smarter optical computers to be built that would be capable of learning and evolving.
The stakes are high for the US Munitions List (USML) Category XII proposal, which, at the time of writing, is yet to be released for public comment. The rewrite of Category XII is part of the overall effort undertaken by the Obama Administration’s Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative. The USML contains the items controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and Category XII covers much of the optic and photonic commodities and components controlled under ITAR.
Commercial sensing solutions for detecting explosive materials are available, but as yet none that offer any significant standoff distance between the operator and the threat. In terms of scanning a package to determine whether or not it contains explosives, the further away this can be done the better.
It is a long road to getting a medical instrument certified for clinical use, but any device incorporating optics can benefit significantly from optical modelling software in the prototyping stage and during the certification process.
Collaboration is dead. Or at least the way we used to do collaboration is dying. Why? Gone are the days when it was okay to have a specialist in one laboratory ‘collaborate’ on a project with a research specialist in another laboratory with periods of separate parallel or sequential activity. Then, when one or the other of the parties is ready to talk they come together for sporadic meetings to share their results.