Top 10 photonics stories tell the tale of 2014

Dec. 29, 2014
The top stories that were viewed on our website say a lot about what was hot.  
Conard 720

On our website, we post all of our magazine feature articles, technology coverage, and columnsplus daily news and technology stories, new products, blogs, webcasts, and videos. Here are the top 10 stories that were viewed online in 2014. The list, in descending order, says a lot about what was hot in 2014:

1. Medical applications of fiber-optics: Optical fiber sees growth as medical sensors

The intrinsic physical characteristics of optical fiber combined with its versatility in remote sensing make it an attractive technology for biomedical applications. Feature by Alexis Mendez, MCH Engineering

2. Laser Marketplace 2014: Lasers forge 21st century innovations

Laser manufacturers are tired of our uncertain economy and eager to focus on emerging consumer and industrial innovations that could spark new growth for the worldwide laser industry. Feature by Gail Overton and Conard Holton, Laser Focus World, and Allen Nogee, Strategies Unlimited

3. Silicon low-light photodiodes don't miss a photon

Avalanche photodiodes, silicon photomultipliers, and their variants serve low-light-detection needs, even counting single photons when needed. This Slide Show surveys the latest developments in photodiodes for low-light detection. Feature by senior editor John Wallace, Laser Focus World

4. Fiber lasers: The state of the art

Fiber lasers are compact and rugged, don't go out of alignment, and easily dissipate thermal energy. They come in many forms, sharing technology with other type of lasers but providing their own unique advantages. Feature by contributing editor Jeff Hecht, Laser Focus World

5. Simulating laser material processing using COMSOL Multiphysics

The transformation of materials using focused laser beams fundamentally involves multiple physical phenomena such as optical absorption, heat transfer, structural mechanics, and material phase transitions. This webcast describes two examples of laser material processing, resonant IR laser ablation and laser-based chemical vapor deposition. COMSOL Multiphysics is used to solve the coupled phenomena that drive material transformation. Webcast by COMSOL

6. Optical design benefits from interconnected software

Optical-design programs encompass lens and illuminator design, analysis, and tolerancing, as well as photometrically tailored design and the interface with external computer-aided-design software. Feature by senior editor John Wallace, Laser Focus World

7. Photonics education: How to begin a career in photonics

Students interested in a career in optics and photonics should carefully research which institutions are a geographic, academic, and financial fit; which institutions offer a fast track to industry through collaborative programs; and whether or not the technician option makes more sense. Feature by senior editor Gail Overton, Laser Focus World

8. LED-based lab-on-a-chip device screens for 170,000 molecules in blood

A handheld LED-based device from EPFL and UCLA screens blood for molecules using light intensity changes of biomarkers on a nanoscale chip; no spectrometer needed. Online article by senior editor Gail Overton, Laser Focus World

9. How to choose the best laser for your marking application

Given the numerous types of lasers and materials involved, picking the best laser for a marking application can be a challenge. An understanding of the laser characteristics and the material properties is essential to making an optimal choice. Feature by Dennis Kaminiski, Trumpf

10. Opportunities in the mid-IR

The mid-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum has the fundamental advantage of containing a vast number of molecular lines, both inorganic and organic. Mid-IR sensing applications include those in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, security, forensic, and industrial arenas. Webcast by Claire Gmachl, the director of the NSF-funded Center for Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) at Princeton University, gives an overview of mid-IR optical technologies and the opportunities that arise from their development.

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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