Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Choreographing light

13.11.2012
EPFL scientists have developed an algorithm to control light patterns called "caustics" and organize them into coherent images

It's a simple, transparent acrylic plate – nothing embedded within it and nothing printed on its surface. Place it at a certain angle between a white wall and a light source, and a clear, coherent image appears of the face of Alan Turing, the famous British mathematician and father of modern computer science.


Researchers at EPFL found a way to control "caustics", patterns that appear when light hits a water surface or a transparent material. Thanks to an algorithm, they can shape a transparent object so that it reflects a coherent image.

Credit: (c) Alain Herzog

There's no magic here; the only thing at work is the relief on the plaque's surface and a natural optical phenomenon known as a "caustic," which researchers in EPFL's Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory have succeeded in bending to their will. Their research was presented recently at the Advances in Architectural Geometry Conference in Paris.

"With the technique that we've developed, we can compose any image we want, from a simple form such as a star to complex representations such as faces or landscapes," explains EPFL professor Mark Pauly, head of the laboratory, who conducted the study with four other scientists*.

This "caustic" effect is well known and easy to observe; a bit of sunlight shining on a pool of water produces patterns that dance on the surrounding tiles or walls. These undulating lines, apparently random, are generated by light that hits the moving surface of a pool or puddle. This effect, which is very mobile and dynamic in liquid, produces static patterns with solid transparent materials such as glass or transparent acrylic (better known as Plexiglass).

Deviated trajectories

Scientifically, this phenomenon can be explained by light refraction. When light rays hit a transparent surface, they continue their trajectory but are bent as a function of the surface geometry and optical properties of the material. The light passing through is thus not uniformly distributed. It gets concentrated in certain points, forming some zones that are more intense and others that are more shaded.

Pauly and his colleagues studied the principles of this distribution, and were able to identify the curves and undulations they would need to give to the surface in order to direct the beams of light to a desired area. They then developed an algorithm to calculate the trajectories very precisely and thus form a specific image.

One of the most interesting and eagerly awaited applications of this method is in architecture. It could be applied to display cases, windows, fountains, and ornamentations on museums and monuments. In design it could be used for decorating glasses, vases, carafes, jewelry and many other objects. It has considerable potential in other, more technical applications as well, such as automobile headlights and projectors.

See the Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NXNAIqU8KM

*Thomas Kiser (EPFL), Michael Eigensatz (Evolute), Minh Man Nguyen (WAO) and Philippe Bompas.

Mark Pauly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.epfl.ch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NXNAIqU8KM

Further reports about: Choreographing Choreographing light EPFL Source algorithm coherent images geometry

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Starke IT-Sicherheit für das Auto der Zukunft – Forschungsverbund entwickelt neue Ansätze

Je mehr die Elektronik Autos lenkt, beschleunigt und bremst, desto wichtiger wird der Schutz vor Cyber-Angriffen. Deshalb erarbeiten 15 Partner aus Industrie und Wissenschaft in den kommenden drei Jahren neue Ansätze für die IT-Sicherheit im selbstfahrenden Auto. Das Verbundvorhaben unter dem Namen „Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) wird durch das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung mit 7,2 Millionen Euro gefördert. Infineon leitet das Projekt.

Bereits heute bieten Fahrzeuge vielfältige Kommunikationsschnittstellen und immer mehr automatisierte Fahrfunktionen, wie beispielsweise Abstands- und...

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Mit Hilfe molekularer Schalter lassen sich künftig neuartige Bauelemente entwickeln

Einem Forscherteam unter Führung von Physikern der Technischen Universität München (TUM) ist es gelungen, spezielle Moleküle mit einer angelegten Spannung zwischen zwei strukturell unterschiedlichen Zuständen hin und her zu schalten. Derartige Nano-Schalter könnten Basis für neuartige Bauelemente sein, die auf Silizium basierende Komponenten durch organische Moleküle ersetzen.

Die Entwicklung neuer elektronischer Technologien fordert eine ständige Verkleinerung funktioneller Komponenten. Physikern der TU München ist es im Rahmen...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: GRACE Follow-On erfolgreich gestartet: Das Satelliten-Tandem dokumentiert den globalen Wandel

Die Satellitenmission GRACE-FO ist gestartet. Am 22. Mai um 21.47 Uhr (MESZ) hoben die beiden Satelliten des GFZ und der NASA an Bord einer Falcon-9-Rakete von der Vandenberg Air Force Base (Kalifornien) ab und wurden in eine polare Umlaufbahn gebracht. Dort nehmen sie in den kommenden Monaten ihre endgültige Position ein. Die NASA meldete 30 Minuten später, dass der Kontakt zu den Satelliten in ihrem Zielorbit erfolgreich hergestellt wurde. GRACE Follow-On wird das Erdschwerefeld und dessen räumliche und zeitliche Variationen sehr genau vermessen. Sie ermöglicht damit präzise Aussagen zum globalen Wandel, insbesondere zu Änderungen im Wasserhaushalt, etwa dem Verlust von Eismassen.

Potsdam, 22. Mai 2018: Die deutsch-amerikanische Satellitenmission GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment Follow On) ist erfolgreich gestartet. Am...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Im Fokus: Klimaangepasste Pflanzen

25.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Größter Astronomie-Kongress kommt nach Wien

24.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen

22. Business Forum Qualität: Vom Smart Device bis zum Digital Twin

22.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Berufsausbildung mit Zukunft

25.05.2018 | Unternehmensmeldung

Untersuchung der Zellmembran: Forscher entwickeln Stoff, der wichtigen Membranbestandteil nachahmt

25.05.2018 | Interdisziplinäre Forschung

Starke IT-Sicherheit für das Auto der Zukunft – Forschungsverbund entwickelt neue Ansätze

25.05.2018 | Informationstechnologie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics