Optics Timeline

Optics is the physical science that studies the origin and propagation of light, how it changes, what effects it produces, and other phenomena associated with it. This "Optics Timeline" highlights important events and developments in the science of optics from prehistory to the beginning of the 21st century. It also includes related developments in other fields and related milestones in the human worldview.


2005 - Nobel Prize in Physics for Optics

2005 - Development of a liquid-crystal lens with a focal length that is adjusted by applying voltage.

2005 - Discovery of a second Wigner Delay.

2005 - Scientists at EPFL in Switzerland devised a clever way to control the speed at which pulses travel along an optical fibre

2005 - Fabricates a high-powere laser diode bar that emits a record-breaking 454 W of continuous-wave infrared (940 nm) light.

2005 - Development of an optical superlens that has a resolution of 60 nm.

2005 - INTEL develops a chip containing eight continuous Rama lasers using fairly standard silicon processors.

2005 - First adjustable lens realized.

2004 - Photocurable nanoimprint lithography can produce features 7 nm wide with a pitch of only 14 nm

2003 - “Slow” and “fast” light created in an'alexandrite crystal at room temperature for the first time.

2003 - The highest resolution optical image to date produced.

2003 - Optical camouflage system developed.

2002 - Terahertz pioneering contributions to free-space terahertz optics.

2002 - Stop and store light in vapor

2002 - Stop and store light in a solid material

2001 - Nobel Prize in Physics awarded "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms

2001 - Developed the first pill sized endoscopic capsul with a camera.

2001 - Concept of an optical clock demonstrated

2000 - Optical Frequency Comb Technique developed

2000 - Nobel prize in physics awarded for developing semiconductor hetereostructures