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  • Milestone Marks Major Optics Achievements

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2012
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) honored the late Elias Snitzer, the father of fiber lasers and fiber amplifiers, with a granite plaque installed near the former American Optical headquarters in Southbridge, Mass., where his discoveries were made. The IEEE Milestone, the 129th bestowed by the institute, honors Snitzer and colleagues, who built and operated the first optical fiber laser in 1961 and, three years later, the first optical fiber amplifier. Snitzer’s inventions include both neodymium- and erbium-doped laser glass, and he co-developed the first fiber optic laser amplifier with laser glass.

Former colleagues, such as Will Hicks; Snitzer’s children, and IEEE members and others in the optics industry gathered to pay tribute to Snitzer at the Oct. 26 ceremony.


GLOSSARY
fiber laser
A laser in which the lasing medium is an optical fiber doped with low levels of rare-earth halides to make it capable of amplifying light. Output is tunable over a broad range and can be broadband. Laser diodes can be used for pumping because of the fiber laser's low threshold power, eliminating the need for cooling.
optical fiber
A thin filament of drawn or extruded glass or plastic having a central core and a cladding of lower index material to promote total internal reflection (TIR). It may be used singly to transmit pulsed optical signals (communications fiber) or in bundles to transmit light or images.  
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