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Lasers: Understanding the Basics

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Although lasers range from quantum-dot to football-field size and utilize materials from free electrons to solids, the underlying operating principles are always the same. This article provides the basic information about how and why lasers work.

Coherent Inc.

Almost 60 years have passed since the first demonstration of a laser in 1960. After the initial spark of interest, lasers were for a while categorized as “a solution waiting for a problem,” but bit by bit, the range of their applications has expanded to encompass fields as diverse as DNA sequencing, consumer electronics manufacturing, or freezing the motion of electrons around atoms. Most of these applications simply would not have been possible without lasers. To grasp the relevance of lasers in physics, it is enough to note that no other man-made sources can generate pulses (of...Read full article

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