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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Southpaw Lens Rules the Waves
10 March 2004 (All day)
For centuries, microscopes, eyeglasses, and magnifying glasses have been limited by the laws of optics: No matter how good their lenses, details smaller than a wavelength of light are lost. Undaunted, physicists have built a different breed of lens with the potential for perfect resolution.
The new lens, which George Eleftheriades and Anthony Grbic of the University of Toronto describe in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, focuses microwaves--long-wavelength radiation that falls next to radio waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. By embedding a wire grid studded with capacitors and inductors in a flat plane of plastic, the researchers created a lens with a so-called negative refractive index, also called a left-handed lens. Waves traveling through it bend in the opposite direction than they would in a conventional material.
The left-handed lens achieves super-resolution by resurrecting waves that carry the subwavelength details of an object. Such waves usually fizzle out before they pass through a lens. But the Toronto group's lens traps and amplifies them, allowing it to distinguish objects just 1/6 of a microwave wavelength apart.
The new technique "smashed the barrier; it crashed through the glass ceiling," says John Pendry, a physicist at Imperial College London. In 2000, Pendry predicted that left-handed materials would make possible marvels such as completely flat lenses with perfect resolution and zero loss (Science, 10 November 2000, p. 1066). In February, physicists at the Institute for Theoretical and Applied Electromagnetics in Moscow announced a super-resolving lens, but their technique required the object to be almost touching the lens, making it impractical for real-life applications. The new lens overcomes that limitation.