Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Back in action... and optomechanical backaction

I returned to Orlando on the red eye from LA Monday morning and am back in the swing of things (paper writing, data analysis, fixing broken equipment, etc.). I unfortunately had the flu for part of the FiO conference, so I did not attend many talks. A few that I did see and were interesting included FMD1: Near Threshold Optomechanical Backaction Amplifier, FTuZ1: Extracting information from optical fields through spatial
and temporal modulation, and FTuS7: Optically Induced and Directed Manipulation on Surfaces. The abstracts and submissions should be up at within the next month.

FTuS7 was especially interesting. This group out of Oxford used an optically heated metallic substrate to form colloidal crystals from thermophoretically and convectively trapped silica microspheres. They employed standard video microscopy to observe the grain boundaries between two crystals and recorded the annealing time—the amount of time it took for the grain boundary to disappear due to large scale reorientation of the two crystals. The position of the nucleation sites for the crystals were controlled by splitting and directing the laser beam through the microscope objective with a spatial light modulator.

Pretty cool stuff. Fortunately, I got better in time to do some climbing in Yosemite. This time we hit the Five Open Books and I followed on my first Yosemite 5.9, Commitment. The crux on Commitment is ridiculous.