Optics

Optics is the study of the properties and behavior of light. In this section you can learn about everything from holograms to lasers and lenses.

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Vantablack is one of the darkest substances known, able to absorb up to 99.965 percent of visible light. But is it the blackest of blacks on the planet?

By Cherise Threewitt

Primary colors are the blocks from which all other colors are built. But there's a lot more to know about them than the basic red, yellow and blue we learned about in kindergarten.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Modern color theory got its start with, believe it or not, Sir Isaac Newton, who also discovered a little thing called gravity and invented calculus.

By Jesslyn Shields

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Is it its own special type of particle? A wave that's flowing through another medium? Or is there some creepy, unknown substance surrounding us that we simply don't perceive or understand?

By Nathan Chandler

Scientists are using 3-D printers to make human corneas, an advancement that could end the perennial shortage of corneas from donors.

By Laurie L. Dove

Why do we love looking at a perfectly stacked display of soup cans or six flower petals around a stamen? Our brains seem wired for it -- but why?

By Dave Roos

If you're one of those people who chooses invisibility as your desired superpower, it could mean you have a dark side.

By Alia Hoyt

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Light-reflective glasses promise to foil CCTV cameras. Here's how.

By Michelle Adelman

Helicopters, ceiling fans, even tricked-out car tire rims: Sometimes they can even look like they're going backward, or bending.

By Laurie L. Dove

A wall of Lego-like bricks creates the illusion of hyper-vivid, three-dimensional audio, altering sound waves much like a hologram does visible light.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's a young lady! It's an old woman! It's a blue dress! No, it's gold! Why are we fooled by optical illusions and what do they tell us about how the brain works?

By Meisa Salaita

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Whereas the majority of sighted people see a world with just a million colors, or fewer if you're color-blind.

By Kate Kershner

It’s true: In 6 easy steps, you too can draw an impossible shape.

Cosmological redshift: sounds like the latest blockbuster coming to a theater near you, doesn't it? In reality, it has to do with how light itself travels -- and understanding how it works is essential to advanced space telescope technology.

By Kate Kershner

What if there are colors within the visible spectrum that our brains can't perceive? In fact, there are. They're called impossible colors. But some researchers think they've discovered a way to see the impossible.

By Dave Roos

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Light travels pretty rapidly, but when it comes to faraway galaxies, that light takes a while to reach our telescopes. In fact, the light you see might actually be from billions of years ago.

By Kate Kershner

Seven ounces a ray! No, that's a lie. Measuring the weight of light is not as straightforward as that. So what's the more complicated explanation?

By Kate Kershner

When speed is everything and light marks the universe's speed limit, lasers are bound to be the answer. At least, that's what NASA and a bunch of Wall Street types are betting on.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Kaleidoscopes have been fascinating people since the early 19th century. Whether you think of kaleidoscopes as toys or as works of art, no matter how often you look inside, you'll never see the same thing twice.

By Melanie F. F. Gibbs

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All colors that you see fall into the visible light spectrum. Learn about the colors in the visible light spectrum in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Unlike the cheap microscopes you peered into in school, these advanced instruments can breathe rich detail into the tiny world around us, including the world of nanotechnology.

By Jonathan Atteberry

A venerable work of art hangs lifeless in a museum, the once brilliant scene dulled by centuries of dirt and grime. Can laser analysis and modern art restoration techniques save the masterpiece?

By William Harris

The Diamond synchrotron is a massive facility that houses a beam of light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. But is that all it does?

By Jacob Silverman

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A group of scientists from Duke University have demonstrated a simplified cloaking device. Learn about the cloaking device that the Duke scientists created and find out if a real-life cloaking device is actually possible.

By Jacob Silverman

If you want to see a hologram, you don't have to look much farther than your wallet. But the most impressive holograms are large scale and illuminated with lasers or displayed in a darkened room with carefully directed lighting. Learn how a hologram, light and your brain work together make clear, 3-D images.

By Tracy V. Wilson