Laser

483 mots 2 pages
Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (LASER or laser) is a mechanism for emitting electromagnetic radiation, typically light or visible light, via the process of stimulated emission. The emitted laser light is (usually) a spatially coherent, narrow low-divergence beam that can be manipulated with lenses. In laser technology, "coherent light" denotes a light source that produces (emits) light of in-step waves of identical frequency, phase, and polarization. The laser's beam of coherent light differentiates it from light sources that emit incoherent light beams, of random phase varying with time and position. Laser light is generally a narrow-wavelength electromagnetic spectrum monochromatic light; yet, there are lasers that emit a broad spectrum of light, or emit different wavelengths of light simultaneously.

Foundations

In 1917, Albert Einstein established the theoretic foundations for the LASER and the MASER in the paper Zur Quantentheorie der Strahlung (On the Quantum Theory of Radiation); via a re-derivation of Max Planck’s law of radiation, conceptually based upon probability coefficients (Einstein coefficients) for the absorption, spontaneous emission, and stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation; in 1928, Rudolf W. Ladenburg confirmed the existences of the phenomena of stimulated emission and negative absorption; in 1939, Valentin A. Fabrikant predicted the use of stimulated emission to amplify “short” waves; in 1947, Willis E. Lamb and R. C. Retherford found apparent stimulated emission in hydrogen spectra and effected the first demonstration of stimulated emission; in 1950, Alfred Kastler (Nobel Prize for Physics 1966) proposed the method of optical pumping, experimentally confirmed, two years later, by Brossel, Kastler, and Winter. On 16 May 1960, Theodore Maiman demonstrated the first functional laser at the Hughes Research Laboratories, capable of producing short pulses.

When lasers were invented in 1960, they were

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