Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Wavelength


Spatial resolution, spectral contrast and occlusion are three major bottlenecks for non-invasive inspection of complex samples with current imaging technologies. We exploit the sub-picosecond time resolution along with spectral resolution provided by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy to computationally extract occluding content from layers whose thicknesses are wavelength comparable. The method uses the statistics of the reflected terahertz electric field at subwavelength gaps to lock into each layer position and then uses a time-gated spectral kurtosis to tune to highest spectral contrast of the content on that specific layer. To demonstrate, occluding textual content was successfully extracted from a packed stack of paper pages down to nine pages without human supervision. The method provides over an order of magnitude enhancement in the signal contrast and can impact inspection of structural defects in wooden objects, plastic components, composites, drugs and especially cultural artefacts with subwavelength or wavelength comparable layers.

Concepts: Diffraction, Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Light, Layer, Wavelength, Telescope, OSI model


We utilized an in vitro adult mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) nerve-attached preparation to characterize the responses of muscle spindle afferents to ramp-and-hold stretch and sinusoidal vibratory stimuli. Responses were measured at both room (24°C) and muscle body temperature (34°C). Muscle spindle afferent static firing frequencies increased linearly in response to increasing stretch lengths to accurately encode the magnitude of muscle stretch (tested at 2.5%, 5% and 7.5% of resting length [Lo]). Peak firing frequency increased with ramp speeds (20% Lo/sec, 40% Lo/sec, and 60% Lo/sec). As a population, muscle spindle afferents could entrain 1:1 to sinusoidal vibrations throughout the frequency (10-100 Hz) and amplitude ranges tested (5-100 µm). Most units preferentially entrained to vibration frequencies close to their baseline steady-state firing frequencies. Cooling the muscle to 24°C decreased baseline firing frequency and units correspondingly entrained to slower frequency vibrations. The ramp component of stretch generated dynamic firing responses. These responses and related measures of dynamic sensitivity were not able to categorize units as primary (group Ia) or secondary (group II) even when tested with more extreme length changes (10% Lo). We conclude that the population of spindle afferents combines to encode stretch in a smoothly graded manner over the physiological range of lengths and speeds tested. Overall, spindle afferent response properties were comparable to those seen in other species, supporting subsequent use of the mouse genetic model system for studies on spindle function and dysfunction in an isolated muscle-nerve preparation.

Concepts: Wave, Phase, Frequency, Hertz, Wavelength, Extensor digitorum muscle, Muscle spindle, Vibration


Our aim was to determine the association between melanopsin gene polymorphism and pupillary light reflex under diverse photic conditions, including different intensities andwavelengths.

Concepts: Light, The Association, Wavelength, Pupillary light reflex, Pupillary reflex


This paper is a theoretical analysis of mirror tilt in a Michelson interferometer and its effect on the radiant flux over the active area of a rectangular photodetector or image sensor pixel. It is relevant to sensor applications using homodyne interferometry where these opto-electronic devices are employed for partial fringe counting. Formulas are derived for radiant flux across the detector for variable location within the fringe pattern and with varying wave front angle. The results indicate that the flux is a damped sine function of the wave front angle, with a decay constant of the ratio of wavelength to detector width. The modulation amplitude of the dynamic fringe pattern reduces to zero at wave front angles that are an integer multiple of this ratio and the results show that the polarity of the radiant flux changes exclusively at these multiples. Varying tilt angle causes radiant flux oscillations under an envelope curve, the frequency of which is dependent on the location of the detector with the fringe pattern. It is also shown that a fringe count of zero can be obtained for specific photodetector locations and wave front angles where the combined effect of fringe contraction and fringe tilt can have equal and opposite effects. Fringe tilt as a result of a wave front angle of 0.05° can introduce a phase measurement difference of 16° between a photodetector/pixel located 20 mm and one located 100 mm from the optical origin.

Concepts: Optics, Ratio, Wave, Phase, Wavelength, Periodic function, Michelson interferometer, Active pixel sensor


Suffering from giant size of objective lenses and infeasible manipulations of distant targets, telescopes could not seek helps from present super-resolution imaging, such as scanning near-field optical microscopy, perfect lens and stimulated emission depletion microscopy. In this paper, local light diffraction shrinkage associated with optical super-oscillatory phenomenon is proposed for real-time and optically restoring super-resolution imaging information in a telescope system. It is found that fine target features concealed in diffraction-limited optical images of a telescope could be observed in a small local field of view, benefiting from a relayed metasurface-based super-oscillatory imaging optics in which some local Fourier components beyond the cut-off frequency of telescope could be restored. As experimental examples, a minimal resolution to 0.55 of Rayleigh criterion is obtained, and imaging complex targets and large targets by superimposing multiple local fields of views are demonstrated as well. This investigation provides an access for real-time, incoherent and super-resolution telescopes without the manipulation of distant targets. More importantly, it gives counterintuitive evidence to the common knowledge that relayed optics could not deliver more imaging details than objective systems.

Concepts: Diffraction, Optics, Microscope, Wavelength, Lens, Telescope, F-number, Angular resolution


Electrogastrography (EGG) is a non-invasive method for the assessment of gastric myoelectrical activity. Porcine EGG is comparable with human one. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of atropine and neostigmine on the EGG in experimental pigs. Adult female pigs were administrated atropine (1.5 mg i.m., n=6) and neostigmine (0.5 mg i.m., n=6) after the baseline EGG, followed by a 90-minute trial recording (MMS, Enschede, the Netherlands). Running spectral analysis was used for the evaluation. The results were expressed as dominant frequency of slow waves and EGG power (areas of amplitudes). Neostigmine increased continuously the dominant frequency and decreased significantly the EGG power. Atropine did not change the dominant frequency significantly. However, atropine increased significantly the EGG power (areas of amplitudes) from basal values to the maximum at the 10 - 20-minute interval. After that period, the areas of amplitudes decreased significantly to the lowest values at the 60 - 90-minute interval. In conclusion, cholinergic and anticholinergic agents affect differently EGG in experimental pigs. This paper is scheduled for Physiological Research, Vol. 64, Supplement 5 (2015).

Concepts: Wave, Acetylcholine, Wavelength, Netherlands, Pig, Mydriasis, Physostigmine, Atropa belladonna


Concurrent sound associated with very bright meteors manifests as popping, hissing, and faint rustling sounds occurring simultaneously with the arrival of light from meteors. Numerous instances have been documented with -11 to -13 brightness. These sounds cannot be attributed to direct acoustic propagation from the upper atmosphere for which travel time would be several minutes. Concurrent sounds must be associated with some form of electromagnetic energy generated by the meteor, propagated to the vicinity of the observer, and transduced into acoustic waves. Previously, energy propagated from meteors was assumed to be RF emissions. This has not been well validated experimentally. Herein we describe experimental results and numerical models in support of photoacoustic coupling as the mechanism. Recent photometric measurements of fireballs reveal strong millisecond flares and significant brightness oscillations at frequencies ≥40 Hz. Strongly modulated light at these frequencies with sufficient intensity can create concurrent sounds through radiative heating of common dielectric materials like hair, clothing, and leaves. This heating produces small pressure oscillations in the air contacting the absorbers. Calculations show that -12 brightness meteors can generate audible sound at ~25 dB SPL. The photoacoustic hypothesis provides an alternative explanation for this longstanding mystery about generation of concurrent sounds by fireballs.

Concepts: Energy, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Wave, Frequency, Hertz, Wavelength, Sound


Inspired by the relatively simple morphological blueprint provided by batoid fish such as stingrays and skates, we created a biohybrid system that enables an artificial animal–a tissue-engineered ray–to swim and phototactically follow a light cue. By patterning dissociated rat cardiomyocytes on an elastomeric body enclosing a microfabricated gold skeleton, we replicated fish morphology at 1/10 scale and captured basic fin deflection patterns of batoid fish. Optogenetics allows for phototactic guidance, steering, and turning maneuvers. Optical stimulation induced sequential muscle activation via serpentine-patterned muscle circuits, leading to coordinated undulatory swimming. The speed and direction of the ray was controlled by modulating light frequency and by independently eliciting right and left fins, allowing the biohybrid machine to maneuver through an obstacle course.

Concepts: Optics, Fish, Wavelength, Batoidea, Cardinal direction, Rocket, Chondrichthyes, Fin


Although all-dielectric metamaterials offer a low-loss alternative to current metal-based metamaterials to manipulate light at the nanoscale and may have important applications, very few have been reported to date owing to the current nanofabrication technologies. We develop a new “nano-solid-fluid assembly” method using 15-nm TiO2 nanoparticles as building blocks to fabricate the first three-dimensional (3D) all-dielectric metamaterial at visible frequencies. Because of its optical transparency, high refractive index, and deep-subwavelength structures, this 3D all-dielectric metamaterial-based solid immersion lens (mSIL) can produce a sharp image with a super-resolution of at least 45 nm under a white-light optical microscope, significantly exceeding the classical diffraction limit and previous near-field imaging techniques. Theoretical analysis reveals that electric field enhancement can be formed between contacting TiO2 nanoparticles, which causes effective confinement and propagation of visible light at the deep-subwavelength scale. This endows the mSIL with unusual abilities to illuminate object surfaces with large-area nanoscale near-field evanescent spots and to collect and convert the evanescent information into propagating waves. Our all-dielectric metamaterial design strategy demonstrates the potential to develop low-loss nanophotonic devices at visible frequencies.

Concepts: Optics, Light, Refractive index, Electromagnetic radiation, Metamaterial, Superlens, Wavelength, Lens


Fluorescence, the absorption of short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation reemitted at longer wavelengths, has been suggested to play several biological roles in metazoans. This phenomenon is uncommon in tetrapods, being restricted mostly to parrots and marine turtles. We report fluorescence in amphibians, in the tree frog Hypsiboas punctatus, showing that fluorescence in living frogs is produced by a combination of lymph and glandular emission, with pigmentary cell filtering in the skin. The chemical origin of fluorescence was traced to a class of fluorescent compounds derived from dihydroisoquinolinone, here named hyloins. We show that fluorescence contributes 18-29% of the total emerging light under twilight and nocturnal scenarios, largely enhancing brightness of the individuals and matching the sensitivity of night vision in amphibians. These results introduce an unprecedented source of pigmentation in amphibians and highlight the potential relevance of fluorescence in visual perception in terrestrial environments.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Photon, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Wavelength, Tetrapod, Amphibian, Frog