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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2016

Optics in Our Time

  • Celebrates the 2015 International Year of Light

  • Discusses topics and applications of Optics and Light-based Technologies for the broad audience

  • Gathers about 20 leading scientists to contribute to the history and sources of light, applications of optics and light, and quantum optics

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Table of contents (19 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xx
  2. History

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. A Very Brief History of Light

      • M. Suhail Zubairy
      Pages 3-24Open Access
    3. Ibn al-Haytham’s Scientific Research Programme

      • Roshdi Rashed
      Pages 25-39Open Access
  3. Ultrafast Phenomena and the Invisible World

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 41-41
    2. Ultrafast Light and Electrons: Imaging the Invisible

      • Ahmed H. Zewail
      Pages 43-68Open Access
  4. Optical Sources

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 69-69
    2. The Laser

      • Bahaa Saleh
      Pages 71-85Open Access
    3. Solid-State Lighting Based on Light Emitting Diode Technology

      • Dandan Zhu, Colin J. Humphreys
      Pages 87-118Open Access
  5. Applications

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 145-145
    2. The Dawn of Quantum Biophotonics

      • Dmitri V. Voronine, Narangerel Altangerel, Edward S. Fry, Olga Kocharovskaya, Alexei V. Sokolov, Vladislav V. Yakovlev et al.
      Pages 147-176Open Access
    3. Optical Communication: Its History and Recent Progress

      • Govind P. Agrawal
      Pages 177-199Open Access
    4. Optics in Remote Sensing

      • Thomas Walther, Edward S. Fry
      Pages 201-222Open Access
    5. Optics in Nanotechnology

      • Munir H. Nayfeh
      Pages 223-264Open Access
    6. Optics and Renaissance Art

      • Charles M. Falco
      Pages 265-283Open Access
    7. The Eye as an Optical Instrument

      • Pablo Artal
      Pages 285-297Open Access
    8. Optics in Medicine

      • Alexis Méndez
      Pages 299-333Open Access
  6. Quantum Optics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 335-335
    2. Atom Optics in a Nutshell

      • Pierre Meystre
      Pages 337-357Open Access

About this book

Light and light based technologies have played an important role in transforming our lives via scientific contributions spanned over thousands of years. In this book we present a vast collection of articles on various aspects of light and its applications in the contemporary world at a popular or semi-popular level. These articles are written by the world authorities in their respective fields. This is therefore a rare volume where the world experts have come together to present the developments in this most important field of science in an almost pedagogical manner.


 This volume covers five aspects related to light. The first presents two articles, one on the history of the nature of light, and the other on the scientific achievements of Ibn-Haitham (Alhazen), who is broadly considered the father of modern optics. These are then followed by an article on ultrafast phenomena and the invisible world. The third part includes papers on specific sources of light, the discoveries of which have revolutionized optical technologies in our lifetime. They discuss the nature and the characteristics of lasers, Solid-state lighting based on the Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, and finally modern electron optics and its relationship to the Muslim golden age in science.  The book’s fourth part discusses various applications of optics and light in today's world, including biophotonics, art, optical communication, nanotechnology, the eye as an optical instrument, remote sensing, and optics in medicine. In turn, the last part focuses on quantum optics, a modern field that grew out of the interaction of light and matter. Topics addressed include atom optics, slow, stored and stationary light, optical tests of the foundation of physics, quantum mechanical properties of light fields carrying orbital angular momentum, quantum communication, and Wave-Particle dualism in action.


“This is a very well illustrated book, with most of the illustrations in color, and is a compilation of articles written by authorities in the relevant area(s) that is meant for the generally educated public. … the reader will find a virtual cornucopia of optical subject matter!” (Vengu Lakshminarayanan, Optics & Photonics News,, May, 2018)

Editors and Affiliations

  • National Center for Applied Physics, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Mohammad D. Al-Amri

  • Department of Electronics, University of York, Heslington, United Kingdom

    Mohamed El-Gomati

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA

    M. Suhail Zubairy

About the editors


Prof. Dr. Mohammad D. Al-Amri 
The National Centre for Applied Physics NCAP
King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)
P.O. Box 6086, Riyadh 11442
Saudi Arabia

Prof. Dr. Mohamed El-Gomati 
Electron Optics and nanotechnology
Department of Electronics
University of York, Heslington
York, YO10 5DD, UK

Prof. Dr. M. Suhail Zubairy
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Institute for Quantum Studies
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 77843-4242


Mohammad Al-Amri received his MSc in Physics with Distinction from Sussex University, UK in 2001. He went on to complete his PhD at York University and was the recipient of the Stott Prize in Physics for the best PhD thesis in 2004. He then joined the National Center for Applied Physics (NCAP) at King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), where he now works as a professor. He was the recipient of the CO/ICTP Gallieno Denardo Award Winner (2013), and Senior Membership in the Optical Society of America (2012). He primarily works in different areas of research related to quantum optics and quantum informatics, where the focus is on quantum optical lithography and microscopy, weak measurement, and direct quantum communication. He has published more than 60 journal papers, including 40 that appeared in the Journal of PRL and PRA, and holds 5 patents. Dr Al-Amri has given many lectures, seminars and invited talks at universities and international conferences.

Mohamed El-Gomati received his BSc degree in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Tripoli in 1970 and went on to complete an MSc in California and a DPhil from York. He became Professor of Electronics at the University of York in 1997. His research interests are in Surface Science and Electron Optics with particular emphasis on the development of novel instrumentation for nano-scale structure and analysis. In particular, he has been a leading figure in developing instrumentation and image interpretation for Auger electron microscopy, as well as for low and ultra-low voltage electron microscopy. Professor El-Gomati is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Microscopical Society. He is the author and co-author of more than 200 articles and patents in these fields. He was awarded an OBE for his services to science in 2012, the Fazlurahman Khan award for science and engineering, 2009 and the Cosslett award of the Microbeam Analysis Society of America in 2009. He is also the Chair of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC).

M. Suhail Zubairy is a University Distinguished Professor of Physics and the holder of the Munnerlyn-Heep Chair in Quantum Optics at the Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1978. He has made pioneering contributions in the fields of quantum computing, laser physics and quantum optics. Prof Zubairy has co-authored two books, one on Quantum Optics and the other on Quantum Computing Devices, and over 350 research papers on a wide variety of research problems relating to theoretical physics. His research has been widely recognised by the physics community and he has won many international awards including the Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, the George H. W. Bush Award for Excellence in International Research, the Outstanding Physicist Award from the Organization of Islamic Countries, the Abdus Salam Prize in Physics, the International Khwarizmi Award from the President of Iran, and the Orders of Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan. Prof. Zubairy is an elected Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society.

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access