May 2015

FEATURE

The art of optical examinations

Two optical techniques for analysing works of art without having to take samples from the painting have been developed independently by researchers in the UK and Italy. A team of UK and Italian scientists have been working on a non-invasive method based on micro-spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (micro-SORS), while researchers from Nottingham Trent University in the UK have improved the resolution of optical coherence tomography (OCT) for analysing artwork.

FEATURE

Shedding light on the brain

Photonics technologies are allowing scientists to move ever closer to understanding how the brain works, and what can go wrong during destructive diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. One exciting area of research, optogenetics, is allowing scientists to selectively control neural activity with pulses of light.

FEATURE

Sunny skies and spectroscopy

The global green energy sector is growing as countries aim to meet clean energy targets. This is increasing the focus on technologies such as solar power, which in turn is providing a healthy vein of revenue for spectrometer producers for quality assurance tasks and for R&D.

FEATURE

Phase-shifting glass

Chalcogenide glasses are by no means uncommon – they are used widely in rewritable DVDs and infrared lenses for night vision – but the materials have potential for much greater use, so much so that the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has funded an initiative to advance their manufacture and demonstrate their applications. The Chalcogenide Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (ChAMP) was launched on 9 March at a University of Southampton open day held in conjunction with the Photonex Southampton exhibition.

FEATURE

Better links between stakeholders needed in biophotonics

Within the last few years, research and development activities in the area of biophotonics solutions have risen worldwide. National and European funding programmes have been initiated motivated by the growing socio-economic importance of biophotonics. However, even if there is a strong demand for biophotonics solutions, the market deployment of products is not as strong as it could be.