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  • Night Baseball: Made Possible by Light

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2015
Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher,

The nerve-racking snake draft is over, and everyone is on deck and ready for major league baseball’s first pitch on April 5. Being a rookie in a fantasy baseball league has made me contemplate just what it is I like about the game. I’ve never dug deeply into team or player stats or league history. At the end of the day, what I like best about baseball is sitting behind the plate, anticipating the magical sound of the bat cracking a hit, and enjoying the brilliance of the scene in front of my eyes, under the lights at night.

The first night game in major league baseball history was played 80 years ago, on May 24, 1935, at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. Erected on eight metal stanchions set around the field, the more than 600 individual lamps cost about $50,000. According to General Electric, which manufactured the lights, the first bulbs used in night baseball produced 75 footcandles of output. Today, to accommodate color television coverage, they are now more likely to be 200- to 300-footcandle lamps, depending on what part of the stadium they’re lighting.

Lighting changed baseball forever, and light is still changing the world in ways both large and small.

In our cover story, “Nanoparticles: Probing the Plasma Threshold,” the authors tell us that to fully harness laser-induced plasma generation, we must understand how nanoparticles behave and how to control them. Cicely Rathmell of Mapleseed LLC, Daniel D. Hickstein of JILA – University of Colorado Boulder, and Craig Hanson of Idex Corporation say that nanomaterials’ “novel properties are opening up a new dimension in materials design, with applications in energy production, medicine, communications, computing and more.” Read the feature, beginning on page 34.

Also in this issue:

• “Consumers and Cost Are Driving Infrared Imagers into New Markets,” by contributing editor Marie Freebody, beginning on page 40;

• “Hyperspectral Imager Opens Options for Consumer, Medical and Industrial Uses,” by Jan Provoost, imec, beginning on page 46;

• “Breaking the Mold: Overcoming Manufacturing Challenges of Chalcogenide Glass Optics,” by Myeong Nam, Joseph Washer and Jacob Oh, ISP Optics Corporation, beginning on page 52;

• “Scintillator Detectors with Integrated Nanophotonics for Medical Imaging,” by Ya Sha Yi, University of Michigan, and Bo Liu, Tongji University, beginning on page 58; and,

• “Advances in Industrial Color Testing of Automotive Metallic Finishes,” by José M. Medina and José A. Díaz, University of Granada, Spain, beginning on page 63.

Enjoy the issue.

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