Photonics is a key element in modern fundamental research and industrial applications, and photonic technologies span an incredibly wide range of applications in communication systems, lighting, imaging, manufacturing, medicine, chemical and biological sensing, energy harvesting, and many more. Now, by virtue of its ability to control light, photonics is finding a home in art and design.
Art conservation is a well-established area of research where optics is used. Microscopy, spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging, and interferometry are tools that help unlock details in centuries-old paintings and enable old paintings and frescos to be preserved. Advanced imaging techniques using light and x-ray sources can be employed to analyze and restore damaged and faded works of art, study their intricate details, analyze pigments, and search for subtle defects not visible to the naked eye.
Researchers are also investigating how optics was used to create art centuries ago, unlocking the secrets of renowned artists, such as Bellini and Caravaggio. Optical instruments may have been in use by artists nearly two centuries earlier than previously thought.
More recently, lasers have been used on performance stages and in museums allowing artists to create fascinating animations, graphics, and "living" portraits. For these sorts of projects, it is vital to develop fade-free coatings and compact, powerful, and cheap lasers, as well as to improve laser safety.
Holography is another technique that has had a tremendous impact. With recent developments in ultra-thin, flat optics enabled by artificial optical materials—metamaterials and metasurfaces—the realm of lenses and holograms has been expanded to include extremely thin meta-coatings instead of bulky, volumetric components. These new metasurfaces enable advances in hologram technology and the manipulation of light with ultra-compact, easy-to-make, robust and full-colored holograms.
The visual arts involve a wide range of materials that merge engineering and art, such as ceramics, colored glasses (such as those hosted by the Corning Museum of Glass), optical fibers for entertainment and fashion textiles, and many more. The resulting art forms—drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture—are often highly interdisciplinary.
The purpose of this feature issue is to highlight the impact that modern research in photonics and optical materials has had on visual art, lighting, and sustainable design. Topics to be covered include but are not limited to:
All papers need to present original, previously unpublished work, and will be subject to the normal standards and peer-review process of the Journal. Papers will be published online upon acceptance, and all papers will later be combined in a virtual table of contents.
Manuscripts must be prepared according to the usual guidelines for submission to Optical Materials Express and must be submitted through OSA's online submission system. When submitting, authors must specify that the manuscript is for the "Design, Manufacture, and Analysis of Photonic Materials for Historical and Modern Visual Arts" feature issue (choose from the drop-down menu). The standard OMEx publication charges will apply to all published articles.
Joel Yang, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore (Lead Editor)
Alexandra Boltasseva, Purdue University, USA
Martin Fischer, Duke University, USA
Martina Mrongovius, The Center for Holographic Arts—Holocenter, USA