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.