Photonics makes room at the bottom

In physicist Richard Feynman's famous 1959 lecture at Caltech, "There's plenty of room at the bottom," he introduced a new field of physics and helped launch the "nano" revolution.

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In physicist Richard Feynman's famous 1959 lecture at Caltech, "There's plenty of room at the bottom" (see http://www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html), he introduced a new field of physics and helped launch the "nano" revolution. A precise definition of nanotechnology may be subject to debate, but that revolution has fully engulfed photonics. For just a taste of this vast world, read our OSA Future Optics interview this issue with Michal Lipson, professor at Columbia University. She describes the advantages of working on the nanoscale and how silicon photonics can enable interesting new phenomena by localizing light within a few nanometers (see page 26).

The impact of nanoscale technology is apparent in several other features this issue. Gregg Fales and colleagues at Edmund Optics introduce us to random antireflective (RAR) nanotextures that can improve performance in laser optics (see page 41). John Wingerd at Siskiyou describes micromanipulators that exert nanoscale forces to allow measurements of single cells and are enabling advances in optical instrumentation for heart disease research (see page 45). And senior editor John Wallace writes about high-resolution microscopes paired with Raman spectrometers for characterizing molecular structures, including those of carbon nanomaterials such as graphene and fullerenes (see page 33).

Photonics technology is clearly taking advantage of nanoscale structures and opening up new views of the world at the nanoscale. We will explore the practical side of designing, manufacturing, and integrating optical systems that enable this technology as part of our new Optical Engineering Exchange, which we will be officially launching in October and highlighting at OSA's Frontiers in Optics meeting in Rochester (October 17-21). In the coming months, you will hear much more about this resource for all scales of optical engineering challenges that you may face.

Conard Holton
Associate Publisher/
Editor in Chief

cholton@pennwell.com

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