Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) exhibit extreme pulses

Extreme events occur in many observable contexts. Nature is a prolific source: rogue water waves surging high above the swell, monsoon rains, wildfire, etc. From climate science to optics, physicists have classified the characteristics of extreme events, extending the notion to their respective domains of expertise. For instance, extreme events can take place in telecommunication data streams. In fiber-optic communications where a vast number of spatio-temporal fluctuations can occur in transoceanic systems, a sudden surge is an extreme event that must be suppressed, as it can potentially alter components associated with the physical layer or disrupt the transmission of private messages.

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Thermal vision of snakes inspires soft pyroelectric materials

Converting heat into electricity is a property thought to be reserved only for stiff materials like crystals. However, researchers—inspired by the infrared (IR) vision of snakes—developed a mathematical model for converting soft, organic structures into so-called “pyroelectric” materials. The study, appearing October 21 in the journal Matter, proves that soft and flexible matter can be transformed into a pyroelectric material and potentially solves a long-held mystery surrounding the mechanism of IR vision in snakes.

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Microscopy with undetected photons in the mid-infrared region

Microscopy techniques that incorporate mid-infrared (IR) illumination holds tremendous promise across a range of biomedical and industrial applications due to its unique biochemical specificity. However, the method is primarily limited by the detection range, where existing mid-infrared (mid-IR) detection techniques often combine inferior methods that are also costly. In a new report now published on Science Advances, Inna Kviatkovsky and a research team in physics, experimental and clinical research, and molecular medicine in Germany, found that nonlinear interferometry with entangled light provided a powerful tool for mid-IR microscopy. The experimental setup only required near-IR detection with a silicon-based camera. They developed a proof-of-principle experiment to show wide-field imaging across a broad wavelength range covering 3.4 to 4.3 micrometers (µm). The technique is suited to acquire microscopic images of biological tissue samples at the mid-IR. This work forms an original approach with potential relevance for quantum imaging in life sciences.

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‘Classified knots’: Researchers create optical framed knots to encode information

In a world first, researchers from the University of Ottawa in collaboration with Israeli scientists have been able to create optical framed knots in the laboratory that could potentially be applied in modern technologies. Their work opens the door to new methods of distributing secret cryptographic keys—used to encrypt and decrypt data, ensure secure communication and protect private information. The group recently published their findings in Nature Communications.

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Battling with neighbors could make animals smarter

From ants to primates, ‘Napoleonic’ intelligence has evolved to help animals contend with the myriad cognitive challenges arising from interactions with rival outsiders, suggest researchers at the University of Bristol in a paper published in Nature Communications today.

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Microcomb-injected, pulsed lasers as variable microwave gears

Low-noise microwave signals are of critical importance in numerous applications such as high-speed telecommunication and ultrafast data processing. Conventionally, such signals are generated with bulky and delicate microwave oscillators that are not suitable for out-of-door applications. But recently, physicists have been exploring a possible alternative: high-quality microwave generation using optical microresonator frequency combs.

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