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Slow and Confocal Light Among CLEO/QELS Topics

Photonics.com
May 2005
WASHINGTON, May 4 -- New research in optical science will be presented at the 2005 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), to be held jointly with the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (QELS) and the Photonic Applications System Technologies (PhAST) conference, May 22-27 at the Baltimore Convention Center, in Baltimore, Md. The event is co-sponsored by the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society and the IEEE Lasers & Electro-Optics Society.

The use of time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy to distinguish between dangerous and less harmful forms of atherosclerotic plaque will be the topic of Laura Marcu, PhD, director of the Biophotonics Research and Technology Development Laboratory in the Department of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is part of a Cedars-Sinai and the University of Southern California team that developed the technique, which has also been used to distinguish brain tumors from normal tissue. They used a fiber optic probe connected to a laser to shine light on tissue and recorded the spectrum of light that the tissue radiates (or "fluoresces") to provide information on its chemical composition.

Duane Miller, PhD, profesor and chairman of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Toronto, will discuss his research team's work to capture the first atomic-level view of the melting process, one of the simplest transformations of matter, on the timescale of femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second. The experiments are revising scientists' basic knowledge of what happens during rapid melting.

Victor Lien, a member of a research team and a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Integrated Nanosensors Lab, will describe how marrying microfluidics (fluids moving through tiny channels) to photonics produces a thousand-fold reduction in size, weight and cost for performing one of two core functions of flow cytometry: cell detection with very high sensitivity. Instead of mainframe lasers and photodetectors, the UCSD device, a fluidic photonic integrated circuit (FPIC), uses tiny light-emitting diodes and silicon detectors for triggering then monitoring fluorescence from passing cells.

Lev Perelman, PhD, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will discuss research on combining the use of tight pinholes to control incoming and collected light (confocal microscopy) and analyzing the spectrum of scattered light coming from the sample (light-scattering spectroscopy) to study the structure and behavior of organelles, distinct cell structures such as the nucleus and mitochondria. The Harvard confocal light scattering spectroscopic (CLSS) microscope achieves pictures of 100 nm organelles with 5 nm accuracy, allowing it to look for clumping of the genetic material known as chromatin, an early sign of cancer, inside the cell nucleus.

A team from Cornell, Rochester and Duke Universities will present a new method of slowing down light that can be operated over a wide range of wavelengths, including those useful for telecommunications. Such a feat may be useful, for example, in using light to make more powerful all-optical versions of computers, memory chips and telecommunications systems. Their method employs Brillouin scattering, in which the energy of the optical wave is exchanged with acoustical waves then re-converted to a lightwave of lower frequency.

Researchers from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and Iowa State University will report on a metamaterial designed for electromagnetic radiation at a record high frequency of around 100 terahertz (equivalently, a 3-micron wavelength) in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

For more information on CLEO/QELS 2005, visit: www.cleoconference.org



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