Understanding The Basics of Laser

Did you know that the first laser was actually known as MASER and its stands for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation? Townes, Basov, and Prochorov were the ones to discover the first maser and won Nobel Prize for the same in the year 1964. This was built at Columbia University.

The other interesting fact about laser is that Einstein also had his contribution to building the laser. The theory of stimulated emission is used in the development of the laser.

What is Laser?

A laser is defined as the device that emits light based on the principle of stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation through the process known as optical amplification. A laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. We know that electromagnetic radiation waves are transverse waves and therefore, the laser is a continuous wave.

Components of Laser

There are three main components of the laser:

  • Active medium: Active material is also known as the lasing medium which is used either in the form of solid crystals, gases, or as semiconductors. The wavelength of the laser radiation is dependent on the medium. 
  • Energy source: The active centres in the laser is excited from the ground state to the excited state by pumping of the energy source. The active centre is the place where the stimulated emission takes place in the laser.
  • Resonance cavity: It consists of two mirrors; one with a high reflective mirror and the other with partial transmissive mirror. Between these two mirrors, the active medium is placed.

Types of Lasers

The classification of the laser is dependent on the type of lasing medium that is used in it. Following are the different types of lasing medium:

  • Solid-state: In solid-state lasers, the material is distributed in a solid matrix. Ruby laser is an example of a solid-state laser.
  • Gas: Gas lasers find applications in the cutting of hard materials. The red visible light from the laser is the primary output. The most common gas laser is HeNe laser. The energy emitted by the CO2 laser is in the far-infrared range.
  • Excimer: A reactive gas such as fluorine and chlorine are used in the excimer lasers. These reactive gases are then mixed with the inert gas so that they are electrically stimulated. The light emitted by the excimer laser is in the ultraviolet range.
  • Dye: A liquid solution or a suspension is used as a lasing medium in a dye laser. 
  • Semiconductor: These lasers are also known as diode lasers. They are generally small in size and use low power. 

Applications of Laser

Metallurgy Industry

Laser finds application in metallurgic industries as it can be used in cutting and shaping of the strong metals.


In robotics, sensors with lasers are used in the detection of the objects and also in the calculation of the distance. The image processing technique is used in the determination of the distance between the robot and the object.

Astronomy and Communication 

A binary system is used in communicating the distance between the celestial bodies and this is possible with the help of a communication satellite that uses lasers.

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