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Lasers - Essay Example

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The pioneer in laser technology was Gordon Gould who developed the laser process at Columbia University in 1958. Subsequently, Theodore Maiman from Hughes Research Laboratory “constructed the…
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Lasers
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“The invention of the laser was one of the groundbreaking scientific achievements of the twentieth century” (Lang and Barbero vii). This technology resulted in the development of new systems of communication, optical devices, space exploration, digital devices, and the mastery of nuclear energy. Lasers are oscillators functioning at optical frequencies producing monochromatic, coherent, and highly collimated intense beams of light. The frequencies of operation lie within a spectrum of far infrared to the vacuum ultraviolet or soft X-ray region (Lang and Barbero xii).
This process occurs “when a beam of light passes through a specially prepared medium and intiates or stimulates the atoms within that medium to emit light” (Silfvast 1). Light is emitted from a source such as a flash lamp or diode, and the light is amplified in the lasing media which may be a gas, liquid, or solid. “The light travels between two mirrors; one of the mirrors is 100% reflective, while the other is partially translucent” (Dajnowski et al. 13). Light repeatedly passes through the lasing media until it gains the required energy level, at which point it exits through the partially reflective, translucent mirror, state Dajnowski et al. (13).
The light is released in exactly the same direction and same wavelength as that of the original beam. Thus, lasers are devices that “amplify or increase the intensity of light to produce a highly directional, high-intensity beam that typically has a very pure frequency or wavelength” (Silfvast 1).
The components of a typical laser device include an amplifying or gain medium, a pumping source to channel energy into the device, and an optical cavity or mirror arrangement for reflecting the beam of light back and forth through the amplifying medium for further increase and intensification. “A useful laser beam is obtained by allowing a small portion of the light to escape by passing through one of the mirrors that is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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