August/September 2014

FEATURE

Measuring ripples in space-time

In 2015, the European Space Agency (ESA) is scheduled to launch its LISA Pathfinder satellite, a precursor to the eLISA mission which will be the first observatory in space for investigating gravitational waves. Scientists at Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) have begun a three-year project to develop an engineering qualification model (EQM) of the fibre amplifier for eLISA, which will be able to send a laser beam between satellites positioned one million kilometres apart.

FEATURE

Light-matter interactions on the nanoscale

How do opals get their iridescent sheen? The answer lies in the way light interacts with their structure. The gemstones are comprised of microscopic silica spheres ordered in such a way that the light bouncing off them interferes to give a brilliant colour. Scientists are trying to reproduce this effect artificially and design materials at the nanoscale that interact with light to give remarkable optical properties.

FEATURE

Going the distance

In a report published in June 2014, BCC Research predicted the VCSEL market to grow from $501.0 million in 2013 to nearly $2.1 billion in 2018. At this year’s ECOC exhibition and conference – which will take place in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals from 22-24 September – visitors will be able to see the latest VCSEL technology for the optical communications market, all turning data into pulses of light to be transmitted along optical fibres.

FEATURE

A safer way to fly

In July, newspaper stories in Britain warned air travellers to ensure that their mobile phones and laptops were fully charged before setting off. According to the headlines, if the devices could not be powered up on demand, they would be confiscated by airport security.