LETS FIRE “THE LASER”
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
The word L.A.S.E.R. is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles H. Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.
Lasers are pretty cool. This particular movie made Lasers famous on the big screen.
Dr. Evil: “You know, I have one simple request.
And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that can’t be done.“
Albert Einstein was the first to have the idea of stimulated emission that could produce a laser. From that point many years were spent to see if the idea worked. At first, people succeeded in making masers and later figured how to make shorter visible wavelengths. It was not until 1959 that the name laser was coined by Gordon Gould in a research paper. The first working laser was put together and operated by Theodore Maiman at the Hughes Research Laboratories in 1960. Many people started working on lasers at this time, and the question of who would get the patent for the laser wasn’t decided until 1987 (Gould won the rights).
A laser creates light by special actions involving a material called an “optical gain medium”. Energy is put into this material using an ‘energy pump’. This can be electricity, another light source, or some other source of energy. The energy makes the material go into what is called an excited state. This means the electrons in the material have extra energy, and after a bit of time they will lose that energy. When they lose the energy they will release a photon (a particle of light). The type of optical gain medium used will change what color (wavelength) will be produced. Releasing photons is the “stimulated emission of radiation” part of a laser.
A laser is a machine that makes an amplified, single-color source of light. It uses special gases or crystals to make the light with only a single color. The gases are energized to make them emit light. Then mirrors are used to amplify (make stronger) the light.
The Laser That’s Changing the World is a popular science and technology book combining historical research with fresh reporting to tell the story of lidar’s origins, the people who propelled it forward, and its fascinating transitions to the mainstream.
BOOM – There you go. Now you know about lasers.
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