Congratulations to Our Winners!
The competition was extremely close. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to everyone who submitted entries.The final decision was not easy, but we are proud to announce that the individuals who submitted the winning papers in our World Cup of Applications are Andreas Burkart and Bruce Robertson! Amongst a field of very well written and informative app notes, Andreas and Bruce rose to the top. As a reminder, Andreas and Bruce have earned round-trip airfare and accommodations for up to four people to Ocean Optics headquarters on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, for the fall 2014 grand opening of our Applications Lab!
The Faint Red Glow of Photosynthesis By Andreas Burkart
200 years ago
When Joseph von Fraunhofer in the year 1814 pointed one of the first ancient spectrometers towards the sun, he discovered spectral lines, later known as Fraunhofer lines. In these narrow lines, the atmosphere absorbs all light and they appear dark. Fraunhofer could not have known that 200 years later his discoveries would enable outstanding insights into the machinery of plants photosynthesis itself. Using cutting edge devices, extremely accurate calibration and measurement methods, biologists drive Ocean Optics spectrometers to their very limits to catch the faint red glow of chlorophyll fluorescence inside the Fraunhofer lines.
Polarized Light Pollution: A New Kind of Ecological Photopollution By Gábor Horváth, György Kriska, Péter Malik, and Bruce Robertson
The alteration of natural cycles of light and dark by artificial light sources has deleterious impacts on animals and ecosystems. Many animals can also exploit a unique characteristic of light – its direction of polarization – as a source of information. We introduce the term “polarized light pollution” (PLP) to focus attention on the ecological consequences of light that has been polarized through interaction with human-made objects. Unnatural polarized light sources can trigger maladaptive behaviors in polarization-sensitive taxa and alter ecological interactions. PLP is an increasingly common byproduct of human technology, and mitigating its effects through selective use of building materials is a realistic solution. Our understanding of how most species use polarization vision is limited, but the capacity of PLP to drastically increase mortality and reproductive failure in animal populations suggests that PLP should become a focus for conservation biologists and resource managers alike.