- A laser is an electronic-optical device
that emits coherent light radiation. The term "laser" is an acronym for
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
- A typical laser emits light in a
narrow, low-divergence beam, with a narrow wavelength spectrum
- In this respect, laser light is in
sharp contrast with such light sources as the incandescent light bulb,
which emits incoherent light over a wide area and over a wide spectrum of
wavelengths, and differs from LED light which is not coherent.
- The word light in this phrase is used
in the broader sense, referring to electromagnetic radiation of any
frequency, not just that in the visible spectrum. Hence there are infrared
lasers, ultraviolet lasers, X-ray lasers, etc.
- The microwave equivalent of the laser,
the maser, was developed first, devices that emit microwave and radio
frequencies are usually called masers.
- In the continuous wave (CW) mode of
operation, the output of a laser is relatively consistent with respect to
time. The population inversion required for lasing is continually
maintained by a steady pump source.
- The first application of lasers visible
in the daily lives of the general population was the supermarket barcode
- 'High Powered' green handheld
125milliwatt lasers have recently been used in attacks on aircraft pilots
landing at Australian airports. The risk is that if the laser hit the
pilots eyes it could cause temporary blindness at a critical point in the
- Lasers that produce pulses can also be
characterized based on the peak power of each pulse. The peak power of a
pulsed laser is many orders of magnitude greater than its average power.
The average output power is always less than the power consumed.
- Dye lasers use an organic dye as the
gain medium. The wide gain spectrum of available dyes allows these lasers
to be highly tunable, or to produce very short-duration pulses.
- Photonic crystal lasers are lasers
based on nano-structures that provide the mode confinement and the density
of optical states (DOS) structure required for the feedback to take place.
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