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Sorting matter with tiny fingers of light

Chicago physicists are set to announce they've successfully used multiple beams of light to selectively sort microscopic particles, biological cells and large molecules. Manipulating these beams of light has led to one of the newest techniques in microfluidics, the science of transporting fluids through networks of miniature channels. University of Chicago Physics Professor David Grier calls the new technique "optical fractionation," because it involves using light to sort one fraction of objects from another.

Study of living eye in real time now possible

A new optics technology is providing scientists with real-time microscopic images of the living retina, and may allow doctors to focus in on earlier diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma. Researchers are using a technology called adaptive optics to peer inside the eyes of human subjects and for the first time get clear, sharp images of features such as blood flow in the eye's retina. Until now, clear images of the living retina were not possible because the eye's own structure interferes with the imaging process.

A different kind of spin cycle

We're used to hearing about spin-offs, but what about spin-outs and spin-ins? Naval laboratories get scores of patents every year. What do you do with all that intellectual property? Ideally, and as long as the technology isn't sensitive, you'd like to spin it out to other users, including commercial industry. As part of the Department of the Navy's continuing efforts to streamline its business practices, the Office of Naval Research's Commercial Technology Transition Officer has conducted a technology transition "wargame" in Potomac, Maryland. Participants from government, industry, and academia focused on "Spin-Out": transferring Naval technologies from the Department of the Navy to other agencies and the commercial sector.

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