Lasers are small yet powerful beams of concentrated light. These beams of light are so powerful that they are able to perform a number of tasks that one would think were impossible for a simple beam of light. Since the creation of lasers, laser technology has continued to grow and flourish. Today, these powerful, concentrated beams of light are used for a variety of purposes.
How Do Lasers Work?
Lasers work to amplify a light source and turn it into one powerful, concentrated beam. Electricity must be supplied to the laser through a power supply. Lasers can be powered through the use of batteries, electricity, or even another laser. Lasers also must have a medium that produces amplification of light. Once a laser has power and something to pass through, it becomes a concentrated beam. This beam can then be emitted outward in a single line of bright light. The word "laser" is an acronym that stands for "light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation."
- How a Laser Works
- Lasers: How Do They Work? (PDF)
- How the Free-Electron Laser Works
- How "Random" Lasers Work
- How the Helium-Neon Laser Works
Who Invented the Laser?
The invention of lasers is a controversial area. The first laser is said to have been invented by a man named Charles H. Townes. But while some people say that there was one sole inventor or team of inventors of the laser, others argue that this is not the case. Several patents were secured in the creation of the laser, and some argue that there is no single inventor of lasers; rather it was a group effort. Despite the controversy, laser technology has grown and improved rapidly throughout the past several years. Those who come up with new forms or uses for laser lights are highly regarded.
- Who Invented the Laser?
- The First Laser: Charles H. Townes
- Who Invented the Laser: An Analysis of the Early Patents
- Inventor of the Blue Laser
How Is Laser Light Different From Ordinary Light?
There are big differences between ordinary lights, or natural lights, and laser lights. Natural light generally illuminates a large area. This is because the natural light and other light sources are designed to distribute light to larger areas. With natural light being distributed and not focused into one beam, it is much less powerful than a laser light. Laser lights are much more focused than natural light sources.
What Do We Use Lasers For?
In the beginning, the use of a laser was limited to areas of science and exploration. Today, as laser technology and technology in general has advanced, the uses are numerous. Many average people use lasers as a source of entertainment. This is possible through devices such as laser pointers and can be very fun and educational when they are used safely and responsibly. Other uses for lasers are found in the medical and chemistry fields. Lasers are often used in communications and information processing devices. They are frequently used during experiments in science fields, particularly in chemistry. Lasers can also be useful to surgeons and in diagnosing and treating various types of cancers. Laser-cutters are also a common use for lasers.
- Lasers in Communications and Information Processing (PDF)
- Use of Lasers in Chemistry (PDF)
- Laser Surgery on the Skin
- Laser Therapy for Cancer Treatment
What Other Kinds of Lasers Are There?
While there are highly powerful types of lasers that are used in medical work, chemistry labs, and the development of technology, there are other types as well. A popular type of laser is a laser pointer. Laser pointers are designed for public use and are nowhere near as powerful as the lasers used in professional settings. When it comes to professional lasers, there are several varieties that can be used dependent upon the specific need. Lasers can be divided into gas, liquid, or solid lasers. In gas lasers, the medium consists of a single gas or vapor or a combination of more than one. In liquid lasers, a dye is generally used as the medium. Solid lasers use a medium such as crystal or glass.
- Eximer Lasers
- Laser Types
- Gas Lasers
- Genes Linked to Cancer Could Be Easier to Detect With Liquid Lasers
- Solid-State Lasers (PDF)
- Basic Principles and Types of Lasers (PDF)
Additional Information on Lasers
- Laser Safety: Following the instructions provided on this website while using a laser will ensure a safe experience.
- Interactive Laser Game: Here, users can play a laser simulation game to get a better idea of how lasers work.
- Lens and Laser Tag Applications: On this website, a guide to choosing the best lens for a laser tag application is provided.
- Laser Pointers (PDF): The popular use of laser pointers and their safety is covered in this document.
- 5 Tricks You Did Not Know You Could Do With Laser Pointers: On this resource, those with laser pointers can learn several unique tricks that they can do with their lasers.
- Lasers, Aircraft and the Law: Shining laser pointers in the air near aircraft is illegal. This resource discusses the specifics of the law.
- Laser Pointers: Their Potential Effects on Vision and Aviation Safety (PDF): Reading this document, readers will be able to better understand the risks of laser pointers, including vision and aircraft.
- Radiation-Emitting Products: Important Information about Laser Pointer Manufacturing (PDF): Throughout this document, various information about laser pointers, radiation, and manufacturing lasers is discussed.
- Laser Pointers and Parkinson's Patients: This article discusses the discovery of how laser pointers assist those suffering from Parkinson's Disease with walking.
- State and Local Government Laser Safety Requirements (PDF): Each state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to lasers; this resource discusses basic requirements.