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Sterling Backus and Randy Bartels
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Sterling Backus and Randy Bartels

June 2, 2010
Sterling Backus and Randy Bartels, research associates at the University of Colorado's Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, are pictured standing next to the femtosecond laser amplifier system. [One of 5 related images. See Next Image.]

More about this Image A National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported research team from the University of Colorado's Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) have created an extreme-ultraviolet, laser-like beam capable of producing tightly-focused light in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum not previously accessible to scientists. The process combines concepts from electromagnetic radiation research and fiber optics.

EUV wavelengths--between 1 and 100 times shorter than visible light waves--allow researchers to "see" tiny features and carve miniature patterns with applications in such fields as microscopy, lithography and nanotechnology.

The achievement is based on a new structure called a "waveguide," a hollow glass tube with internal humps that coax light waves into traveling along at the same speed and help the waves reinforce each other.

These findings were reported in the January 2, 2003 issue of the journal Nature. The research was principally supported by NSF, with additional funds from the Department of Energy. For further information about the research, see NSF Press Release 03-01. (Year of image: 2002)