Yvonne Carts-Powell

Posts Tagged ‘optics’

Holograms on your candy

In beautiful, hilarious, technology on July 22, 2014 at 7:55 am

I knew it was just a matter of time before the edible holograms story re-appeared in the media! New Scientist reports that Chocolate gets a rainbowy holographic makeover.

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Tasty or Toxic? Chatting with your yogurt

In Science, technology on May 20, 2014 at 7:07 am

By cheriedurbin

By cheriedurbin


Food poisoning sucks — and sometimes kills. What if your Tupperware could tell you whether the leftovers were tasty or toxic? What if you could tell at a glance whether your yogurt was full of healthy probiotic bacteria or unhappily past it’s “best if used by” date?

That’s the idea behind some work from researchers at University of Valencia in Spain. Bacteria that turn colors indicate their health. Article from New Scientist: The bacteria that chat back and tell you how they are.

Special post: Metasurfaces, not just meta-materials for light

In beautiful, Science, technology on May 8, 2014 at 7:23 am

This is cool! Refractive glass spherical optics were the standard for about 300 years, but in the past 30 years aspherical optics and plastic optics have become commercially viable, and in the past 20 years digital/diffractive optics have advanced tremendously, including the possibility of using flat surfaced lenses. The potential of photonic crystals and metamaterials (both of which can manipulate light via subwavelength structures) are still being developed, and this research group is pursuing the idea of concentrating on metasurfaces: manipulating light usingubwavelength engineering of just the surface, rather than the bulk, of a material.

I really look forward to seeing what this effort yields, and look forward to writing more about it: Collaborative “metasurfaces” grant to merge classical and quantum physicss.

X-ray Optics Eye Solar Flares

In beautiful, Science, technology, writing on November 12, 2012 at 7:18 am

An x-ray telescope with innovative optics was launched into space for a short trip (only 6 minutes) in early November. During it’s mission, it took a look at our sun. Read more about it in my article for Optics & Photonics News:X-ray Optics Eye Solar Flares.

Fish hide inside their skin

In beautiful, Science, writing on October 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Usually reflective surfaces change the polarization of light in a predictable way, and some aquatic predators use that property to look for food. But fish skin is complex enough that reflected light isn’t clearly polarized, and thus the fish are less visible and less likely to end up as lunch.

Fish skin structure explains biological cloaking.

By the way, coverage of this story has includes ridiculous (“rubbish” as my English editor says) claims that the fish skin breaks the laws of physics. I can only assume that the writer was overenthusiastic and untutored in science. The article linked here claims “biological cloaking” which also seems like a bit of a stretch. What is really going on with the fish skin is that it is camouflaged in ways that we can’t see with human eyes.

Revealing Art Beyond the Visible

In beautiful, technology, writing on June 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Art restorers have been using near-IR imaging to detect invisible details for years now, but Claudia Daffara and colleagues in Italy have just shown the benefits of using mid-IR radiation to study art as well.

Here’s the post I wrote about it for Optics & Photonics News: Mid-IR Reflections Reveal Art Details.

Here’s the original paper in the open access journal Optics Express:

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