A trio of recent science articles that I had a hand in:

Fans of 3D television yearn for the day they can throw the glasses away; which won’t be happening soon. No solution for presenting you with a 3D picture without some form of filter in front of the eye is very satisfactory, but one way might be for each individual pixel of the screen to act as a tiny projector, and beam appropriate light directly into your pupil. A team in China thinks it’s on the right lines — with a 19 cm screen and some big blocky graphics for now, but it’s early days.

And: carbon fibre reinforced plastics have been around for decades, and yet the proper ways to machine them are still being discussed. Laser cutting is probably the best bet, and it turns out lasers can improve CFRPs mechanical properties too.

And: photoacoustics is a clever notion, briefly warming up cell components in living tissues with a laser and detecting the tiny pressure wave that spreads out as they expand and contract — effectively a sound wave. It’s good at spotting early stage cancers on the surface of tissues; and not so good at digging down deeper. Adding a second laser to the apparatus brings non-linear optics into the picture, at which point things start to look much clearer.


June 3, 2015