Scientists Made a Weird System to Study the Mysteries of Photonic Crystals

When you see light, you’re looking at photons spat out by an excited atom. But what if instead of light, an excited atom released a wave of matter? Read More >>

Insane Light System Blasts the Energy of 10,000 Suns

German scientists have constructed a powerful new light system that can focus energy equivalent to the radiation of 10,000 suns onto a single spot. Eventually, they hope, this “artificial sun” could be used to produce environmentally-friendly fuels. Read More >>

A Wild New 3D Display Uses Lasers and Bubbles to Create Images You Can Walk Around

Researchers really want to make good three-dimensional displays. It is so much harder than you might think—at this point, we have lots, but most attempts are literally smoke (light projected and scattered on some medium) and mirrors (optical illusions). There aren’t many examples of voxels, 3D pixels, lined up to create an image that you can walk around and see clearly from all sides. Read More >>

not aliens
Spectacular Light Display in Northern Ontario Looks Like an Alien Encounter

Late last weekend, semi-pro photographer Timothy Joseph Elzinga woke up in the early hours of the morning to attend to his crying two-year-old son. When he looked out the window, he was greeted with a rare and spectacular sight known as light pillars. Smartly, he picked up his camera and captured some of the most incredible images of this natural phenomenon we’ve ever seen. Read More >>

This New Light System Shines as Bright as 21,700 Suns

Researchers from Europe have developed a solar simulator that replicates the heat and light of the sun’s radiation — and then some. The system, with a luminous flux equivalent to over 20,000 suns, is being used to test various materials in extreme conditions. Read More >>

Scientists Just Made a Working Laser Using Blood

Lasers are behind so much of our cutting-edge technology. Now scientists at the University of Michigan have successfully shown that is possible to build a working laser with blood, the better to spot tumours in the human body. Read More >>

Rembrandt Probably Traced His Self-Portraits With Mirrors and Lenses

Rembrandt was renowned for his masterful use of light and dark contrasts, and the precise proportions in his paintings and etchings. Now a British artist claims the 17th-century painter likely used combinations of mirrors and lenses to project images onto a drawing surface to create them — especially his famous self-portraits. It’s the latest volley in a longstanding debate about the possible use of optical aids by Renaissance artists. Read More >>

These Images Were Taken With an Entirely New Kind of Photography

These beetles may look like two different species, but they’re the same individual. The difference lies in how they were photographed, using a new lens that allows scientists to “see” one of the most fundamental properties of biology: chirality. Read More >>

Scientists Made LEDs 60 Per Cent Brighter By Copying Firefly Lanterns

A team of researchers has managed to boost the amount of light an LED emits by 60 per cent simply by etching its outer surface to resemble the outside of a firefly’s lantern. Read More >>

Optical Data Storage Squeezes 360TB on to a Quartz Disc—Forever

Want to make sure you back something up indefinitely? Then you could do worse than a new digital data storage technique that uses laser light to store 360 terabytes of information on nanostructured quartz for up to 14 billion years. Read More >>

Researchers Achieve Fastest Ever Data Transmission at Blistering 1.125 Tbps

A team of researchers has achieved the fastest ever transmission rate for digital information between a single transmitter and receiver, sending data down an optical line at a frankly ridiculous 1.125 terabits per second. Read More >>

The World’s Smallest Optical Switch Uses Just a Single Atom

Turning off a light just became a much smaller task. A team of researchers has developed the world’s smallest optical switch, which uses just a single atom to control the flow of light. Read More >>

This Robot Changes Colour Like a Chameleon

Imagine a world where robots creep up on you: electric motors just a gentle whir, hard shells changing colour to blend in with their surroundings. Well, there’s no need to imagine — it’s happened. Read More >>

Take an Audio Tour of Classic Paintings Transformed Into Soundscapes

Many have savoured the arresting visual beauty of Raphael’s Madonna del Prato (1505). Now you can listen to it as well, thanks to a new series by Athens-based artist and physicist Yiannis Kranidiotis, who transformed this and other classic paintings into haunting digital soundscapes. Read More >>