Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
A laser (beam) is a combination of pure light and stimulated electromagnetic radiation, the devices that emit them are delicate optical precision instruments, they project a beam of light by way of amplifying a light source. The very narrow beams of light produced are created with a process called “popular diversion”, it starts off by reflecting light in a pure of simulated ruby rod which is the ‘gain’ material, there are two mirrors inside that are incredibly aligned and reflect intense bursts light (called pumping) that excites electrons, they then lose a bit of energy and falls to a lower energy state without giving light then drop from there to the ground state, the light produced is incoherent light, a spectrum of colours and intensity with the beam and wavelengths of light all lining up.
Creating a laser requires a very powerful light source. Repeated flashes produce so much energy that they resonate parallel light waves inside the mirror ended ruby rod, the light intensifies inside the ruby chamber reflecting off the very precise mirrors then creating a standing wave, this means only light of a particular wavelength can exist inside the cavity.
By choosing the rod length correctly it is possible to tune the light to the right wavelength which is the single light wavelength of a laser. A small hole in one of the mirrors or that of a partially shaded one allows the laser light to escape in a thin but intense beam.
Ruby or simulated stones are no longer used so much with semiconductor light sources being used for most applications but the essential theory and use is still the same as the first laser that was demonstrated by Ted Maiman at the Hughes Research Laboratories in 1960, his working laser was based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.
Lasers can be low powered like the little pointers and disco lights you can buy from Amazon or eBay, they can also be very powerful like those in the science, medical and industrial sectors – whatever the end resulting laser they use relatively low power to build up (concentrate) and discharge, normally for a very short time.
Laser levels for picture hanging and DIY.
Pastimes and hobbies
Integrated into Laser tagging simulated warfare.
They have very wide uses in lighting shows at concerts and nightclubs as well as externally for events.
Barcode scanners in local stores.
Pickers in warehouses for online retailing like Amazon and others.
Used for hair removal in beauty treatments.
Lithography and micromachining use lasers due to their simple design and low running costs.
Non-contact laser etching for electronics components and semiconductors.
Marking of serial numbers on devices including cars.
Materials such as ceramic, granite, marble, wood and several metals can be etched.
Lasers are used for the hardening of metals and ceramics.
Cutting out of clothes fabrics further production.
Used for fibre optic communications like those to the Transatlantic communications cable.
Used in Laser therapy to cut, burn or destroy tissue taking the place of traditional scalpels.
Blemishes and whole tattoos can be removed with a Q-switched: ruby laser or a Q-switched Alexandrite laser. Q-switched lasers don’t pulse but deliver a constant beam.
Used for target acquisition on land, sea and air.
Optical communications over very long distances.
The ATHENA 30 kw laser can fry a vehicle’s engine from over a mile away rendering it useless, it also has the capability to easily take down a drone or military/commercial aircraft.
Fusion power where multiple lasers are focused on pellets of tritium-deuterium to excite the atoms.
Lasers have been demonstrated to accelerate particles for use in high-energy physics.
Used to measure distances of planets not only from the earth like we do with the moon but also on satellites.
On remote planet remote rovers where sample materials are burnt away to assess the composition.
As laser equipment and the science behind it is developed with the beams becoming more powerful, many new uses are found for them and this demonstrates a wider understanding of just how important simple light is to us and the ways it can be carried into many uses.