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Making energy out surpass energy in

Laser inertial confinement fusion has the potential to solve much of the world`s energy needs, once it can generate more energy than is put in. Tom Eddershaw investigates the current state of laser fusion projects and asks how the research can benefit industry

Taking the pulse of industry

Greg Blackman speaks to Dr Dirk Sutter of Trumpf, who, in December last year, was presented with the 2013 German Future Prize, along with Jens Konig of Bosch and Stefan Nolte of Fraunhofer IOF, for ultrafast laser technology in operation at Bosch manufacturing plants

Mirror on semicon

To bring EUV lithography into mainstream semiconductor production will require more powerful sources, but there is also a lot of development work underway on the optics for the systems, as Katia Moskvitch discovers

Food for thought

Portable spectrometers are being used in more ways than ever to analyse food and, this year, consumers will even be able to purchase handheld spectrometers to check food before they buy. Jessica Rowbury looks at how these spectrometers are being used to test food

Many shades of white

The great appeal of solid-state lighting is its efficiency, but when it comes to designing lighting for buildings based on LEDs not everything is black and white, as Greg Blackman discovers

Organic light for organic production

Micro-algae have potential to produce numerous biological products, from biofuels to cosmetics. At the International Display Workshop in December, researchers from TU Dresden and Fraunhofer COMEDD will demonstrate a new bioreactor that grows algae using light from an OLED. Greg Blackman reports

Branding the beam

Tim Gillett traces the 25-year history of Duma Optronics, from its origins as an OEM innovator to its ambitions to become a self-branded market leader

Power of the pulse

Although no commercial systems are yet available, attosecond lasers are the subject of intense research. DARPA, for instance, launched a $6.9 million project on applications of attosecond pulse generation in August of this year. Katia Moskvitch looks at the technology required to generate these ultrashort laser pulses

Sound medical judgement

Photoacoustic imaging is on the threshold of clinical adoption. Jessica Rowbury explores the current progress and looks at what is needed if the technology is to be applied within medicine

Lasers go digital

The world`s first "digital laser" has been engineered by a team at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa. Greg Blackman speaks to Professor Andrew Forbes, who led the research

Reaching for the stars

The first optical components for the European Extremely Large Telescope have been approved by the European Southern Observatory. Jessica Rowbury finds out that developing the technology to make the mirror segments will ultimately strengthen the European optics industry

Wonder material

Graphene has been heralded as a revolutionary material ever since its isolation in 2004, for which the scientists involved won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Greg Blackman finds out that its unique properties are also beneficial in laser technology

Plastic fantastic

The three-year PolyBright project, which aims to extend the process capabilities of welding polymers with lasers, has drawn to a close. Dr Alexander Olowinsky at Fraunhofer ILT and coordinator of the project discusses its outcome

Standing out to make a mark

The laser-marking business is booming, and competition is often on the price of the laser. However, some companies have concentrated on differentiating the technology, as Tom Wilkie discovers

Remembered forever

Rob Coppinger finds that ultrafast lasers could make quartz the data storage medium for eternity

Illuminating telecoms

The reach and scope of the telecommunications industry is expanding at a dizzying rate, with photonics an integral part of developments. Tim Gillett reports

Stacking for success

Rob Coppinger finds out how the diode laser industry is setting a high bar for its new powerful systems

Explosive potential

Their speed of measurement and portability are making Raman spectroscopy systems ideal for security uses such as screening for explosives at airports, as Greg Blackman discovers

World in motion

Aerotech`s motion control products have been used throughout photonics for more than 40 years, as Warren Clark discovers

Lighting the way

Rob Coppinger is enlightened by the laser technology that is making more effective photovoltaics possible

Home improvements

Replacing incandescent bulbs in the home with vastly more efficient solid-state lighting could save billions of dollars in energy, but ensuring an LED device lights a room well is more complicated than it seems, as Greg Blackman discovers

Under pressure

Tim Gillett and Rob Coppinger find ways to aid stroke recovery with lasers

Biophotonics in rude health

Plug-and-play simplicity in fibre-delivered lasers is advancing the world of flow cytometry and microscopy, while the number of laser-based medical applications continues to grow. Tim Gillett reports

Photonics drives innovation

Rob Coppinger reflects on an ebullient show where the revitalisation of the photonics sector was so strong it could be tasted

Broad and bright

Greg Blackman on the latest developments in supercontinuum sources, lasers delivering broadband light for a whole range of applications

Rough and ready

Confocal microscopy provides an optical method for measuring surface roughness, one that`s now much more accepted in industry as an alternative to tactile measurements, as Greg Blackman discovers

Many beams make light work

Rob Coppinger discovers that splitting could be the answer to the economical treatment of surfaces using pico and femto second pulse lasers

Two decades of good service

More than 20 years after helping its first customer - The University of Southampton`s Department of Physics - Laser Support Services is still going strong, as Warren Clark discovers

Perfect beam, perfect defence

A coherent strategy is not the only way to stop your enemy, as Rob Coppinger finds that directed energy needs good beam quality to defend its military users

Not just a question of size

While portable spectroscopy systems are getting smaller each year, Tim Gillett finds that simplicity and modularity are more crucial than scale

Illuminating data

Rob Coppinger finds that future home and office lighting could deliver gigabits of data every second

Reaching maturity

Cobolt has developed from a start-up to an established company with mature products, as Warren Clark discovers

Life-giving light

Greg Blackman describes various uses of photodynamic therapy, from treating drug-resistant bacteria and blanching port-wine stain birthmarks, to enhancing drug delivery inside the body

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