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Wits light research among 2019’s best in optics in the world

- Wits University

‘Fractal light from lasers’ research by Wits physicists named among the most influential in optics and photonics in 2019.

The Optical Society of America (OSA), the leading international society for the field of optics, has named research into Fractal light from lasers by Distinguished Professor Andrew Forbes and his team from the Structured Light group at Wits University as one of the 30 most exciting peer-reviewed optics research to have emerged over the past 12 months.

Andrew Forbes is a Distinguished Professor i the Wits School of Physics and Head of the Structured Light Laboratory 

Each year the OSA selects the most important 30 advances published across all journals in optics, from all over the world, highlighting them in a special December issue of its magazineOptics & Photonics News. 

This is the third time that the Structured Light group in the Wits School of Physics has had its work selected by the OSA, following the digital laser work in 2013 and the classical-quantum equivalence work in 2017.

 Wits researchers, including Professor Andrew Forbes, prove the long-held theory by making the first direct observation of fractal light from lasers.

According to the OSA, this year a panel of editors reviewed 91 research summaries from scientists from around the world and selected 30 that they felt most ‘clearly communicated breakthroughs of particular interest to the optics community’, among them Forbes’ article. In this article Forbes reviews the recent progress in structured light from lasers. Simple lasers can be tailored to oscillate on a structured light mode through the use of intra-cavity structured matter optics to produce twisted orbital angular momentum modes at the output. Read the article. 

Forbes’ group performed the first experiment to show fractal light from lasers, confirming a theory that has stood for 20 years. The work made international news on its release earlier in 2019, was selected by the American Physical Society as a journal highlight, and featured by Nature Photonics. 

About the Optical Society of America (OSA) 

Founded in 1916, the Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. 

Wits researchers, including Professor Andrew Forbes, prove the long-held theory by making the first direct observation of fractal light from lasers.Laser & Photonics Reviews 

In related news, the Structured Light group ‘s review of Structured Light from Lasers appears on the front cover of the current issue of Laser & Photonics Reviews, the top review journal in photonics.   

The cover shows an artistic perspective of the type of lasers built by the Wits Structured Light team.