WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 -- Einstein, attosecond-speed cameras and the mysterious moon Titan will be among the topics at Frontiers in Optics 2005, the 89th Annual Meeting of the Optical Society of America. The meeting will be held Oct. 16-20 in Tucson, Ariz., alongside Laser Science XXI, the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's laser science division.
At a plenary and awards session, Stan Whitcomb of Caltech will discuss Albert Einstein’s seminal paper on special relativity -- published 100 years ago -- which stated, among other things, that the speed of light remains constant in all frames of reference, as required by classical Maxwellian theory.
Ferenc Krausz of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and Ludwig-Maximilians-University, both located in Germany, will describe controlling and measuring processes on the time scale of the attosecond (a billionth of a billionth of a second), a timescale important for the motion of electrons in the atom.
Drawing from the NASA Huygens probe’s descent imager/spectral radiometer, Martin Tomasko of the University of Arizona in Tucson will present images, recently captured in the Cassini mission, of Saturn's moon Titan.
Theodor W. Hansch, director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and a professor of physics at the University of Munich, both in Garching, Germany, will discuss his "passion for precision." Hansch, who has made many important atomic measurements with world-record levels of detail, will also receive OSA's Ives Medal.
Marlan O. Scully, a professor of physics at Texas A&M University, will describe theoretical connections between the quantum theory of lasers, black hole radiation and the ultracold gases known as Bose-Einstein condensates. Scully is renowned as a key developer of the quantum description of laser behavior.
Technical presentations will include "Noninvasive Optical Tools Hold Significant Promise For Detecting Alzheimer’s in Early Stages," "Optical Method Lifts Detailed Fingerprints Without Touching the Surface," "Exploring 'Live' Virtual Reality," "New Optical Test Detects Colon Cancer Potentially Much Earlier than Before," "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: New Computer-Generated Movie Beams Full Range of Natural Lighting," "Super Lensing In The Midinfrared" and "Real-Time, Laser-Based System for Explosives Detection."
Lee Goldstein of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues will describe two optical tests that can potentially diagnose Alzheimer's disease in its beginning stages. The first uses quasielastic light scattering, which employs low-power infrared laser light to noninvasively detect protein particles in the eye; the second test, which would be applied to those who screen positively for the proteins, uses a technique Goldstein and colleagues call "fluorescence ligand scanning," which uses fluorescing eye drops with image-enhancing molecules that bind to amyloid beta molecules.
Optics researchers at the University of Pennsylvania will present findings on a new light-based method of recording fingerprints at a crime scene without the use of chemicals or the need to make any kind of contact with the surface.
Artist/researcher Michael Naimark, a visiting associate professor in the Interactive Media Division of the University of Southern California School of Cinema/Television, will discuss live virtual reality, which he says will allow users to steer a camera around an actual space in real time, as opposed to conventional virtual reality, which is prerecorded or computer-animated.
Young Kim, Vadim Backman and their colleagues at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., have developed an optical probe that has shown signs of detecting colon cancer far earlier than any existing method. With this technique, called LEBS (low-coherence enhanced backscattering), researchers shine light on the colon and detect the light that bounces directly back (backscatters) from the tissue. The backscattered light's spectrum also provides information on the tissue's structure and biochemical composition.
Physicists at the University of Texas in Austin have made a "super lens," a flat lens that can image a point source of light down to a focused spot only an eighth of a wavelength wide; this is the first time such super lensing has been accomplished in a functional device in the midinfrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Rosario Sausa of the Army Research Laboratory will present a laser technique that can potentially be deployed to detect tiny traces of explosives on surfaces (such as a bomber's clothes or the doors of a truck) in mass transit and airport settings. Called surface laser photofragmentation-fragment detection spectroscopy (SLP-FD), the system breaks up molecules on a surface and creates fragments of nitric oxide, which is present at various levels in different explosives. A laser then ionizes the nitric oxide molecules so that they become electrically charged and fly toward a detector, where they are counted.
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