optics

How photosynthetic pigments harvest light

How photosynthetic pigments harvest light

New model could help scientists design materials for artificial photosynthesis. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use a wide variety of pigments to absorb different wavelengths of light. MIT researchers have now developed a theoretical model to predict the spectrum of light absorbed by aggregates of these pigments, based on their structure. The new model could help guide scientists in designing new types of solar cells made of organic materials that efficiently capture light and funnel the light-induced excitation, according to the researchers.

Imaging with an “optical brush” - New imaging system uses an open-ended bundle of optical fibers — no lenses, protective housing needed.

Imaging with an “optical brush” - New imaging system uses an open-ended bundle of optical fibers — no lenses, protective housing needed.

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new imaging device that consists of a loose bundle of optical fibers, with no need for lenses or a protective housing. The fibers are connected to an array of photosensors at one end; the other ends can be left to wave free, so they could pass individually through micrometer-scale gaps in a porous membrane, to image whatever is on the other side.