Light (from UV to microwaves) is used to probe material properties. Electronic energy levels (in crystals, polymers, solutions, etc) are measured using diffraction and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Magnetic states are optically measured utilizing the Faraday effect and the magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE).

The sources can be broad spectrum, such as black bodies and LEDs, or narrow line-width lasers. Pulsed lasers allow high peak power and time resolved measurements.

Other optical techniques include microfluidic lab-on-chip (LOC) devices, where waveguides deliver and collect light to measure the size, shape and position of biological particles; micro-machined cantilever deflection measurements by reflected laser beams, and many more. 

Click below for a list of all LCN Researchers & Research Highlights associated with:

Figure: Superposition of Coherent X-ray Diffraction images of a 200nm Au nanocrystal under standing-wave X-ray illumination, where the standing wave nodes and antinodes are imaged within the crystal with a spacing that varies with the incidence angle. [courtesy Ian Robinson]