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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

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

Broad and bright

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

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

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

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

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

The finest in filters

Spectrogon has been leading the way in optical filters and associated products for decades, as Warren Clark discovers

Printing at the extreme

Immersion lithography has all but reached the limit of how small it can print features on silicon chips. Extreme UV lithography promises to be the answer, but there`s still a lot of work to be done before the technology is ready for commercial use, as Greg Blackman discovers

New avenues

CO2 lasers have a future with organics as Rob Coppinger discovers

Nature has the answer

Rob Coppinger finds that millions of years of insect evolution is aiding scientists in their quest for better LEDs

Leaders in lasers

For 40 years, JK Lasers has been developing industrial lasers around the world, as Warren Clark discovers

Getting back to nature

From measuring air and water quality using spectroscopy to gauging wind speed with lidar, Greg Blackman investigates how photonics technology is gathering environmental data in the field

Smoothness needs stiffness

As delicate as optics are, the processes used to smooth their surfaces are
rough. Rob Coppinger examines how computer control and special fluids
are making the difference

Positive outlook

The rebranding exercise for Acal BFi is almost complete, as Warren Clark discovers

Show stopper

Greg Blackman looks at the laser technology wowing audiences at shows from the likes of Coldplay, as well as seeing how new laser pistols used in modern pentathlon performed at this summer`s London Olympics

More power, more speed

Rob Coppinger discovers how new applications with fibre are keeping the laser industry in good health

Focus on growth

Trioptics has grown rapidly in the past three years, as Warren Clark discovers

Striking back

Cancer strikes fear into the hearts of its victims but Rob Coppinger finds that lasers are now able to excise that enemy within, deep inside the human body

Focusing on the distant past

Optics allow distant places to be seen in focus but Rob Coppinger peers into the universe of astronomy where the vision of deep space is also the past

Light in profile

Greg Blackman on the intricacies of beam analysis and the range of sensors laser manufacturers employ to characterise a source

Beyond line of sight

Since the dawn of photography the photographer has had to have their subject within sight, but as Rob Coppinger finds US researchers have turned a corner for the ultimate imaging technology

Design for light

Optical design software specialist Lambda Research is 20 years old, as Warren Clark discovers

Crystal power

Historically viewed as having power and symbolism, Rob Coppinger digs for the solutions to the rare earth conundrum the crystal growing industry faces

Guiding light

Greg Blackman on photonic crystal fibres, newer optical fibre designs where light can be guided in air rather than the conventional silica

Solar wind of change

Light harvesting is set to reap the rewards of many years of research and Rob Coppinger talks to the scientists about the new dawn for our energy future

Quick as a flash

If striking fear into the hearts of your enemy is not enough, Rob Coppinger seeks to shed light on the US military's intention to launch lightning bolts

Diamond lights

Element Six provides synthetic diamond for use in the photonics industry, as Warren Clark discovers

A smooth coat

Rob Coppinger tackles the rough and the smooth of the latest challenging thin film production techniques

My fibre-sense is tingling

The sensing properties of the humble optical fibre lends its use to measuring strain and temperature variations along structures like oil pipelines stretching hundreds of kilometres, as Greg Blackman finds out

Nutrition is only skin deep

Medical staff will now be able to check whether patients are following healthy diets by scanning their skin, Rob Coppinger uncovers