LASER is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. They work by a process known as stimulated emission. Laser light is monochromatic (has a single wavelength and/or frequency) and it is coherent (all the wavelengths and frequencies are the same). But, Before the laser was developed, there was the ‘maser’. This stood for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. This was based on Albert Einstein’s principle of stimulated emission masers which were used in atomic clocks. A recent study shows A laser beam can be developed to be hotter than the surface of the sun. From forensic sciences to mapping instruments laser have an eminent role.
Here some scientific and cool facts about LASER’s you may want to know.
Planetary scientists use the laser spectrometer for examining the kinds of gases that are on other planets. This is important to see if there might be possible life on a planet. An example of a kind of gas that they look for is ‘methane’. Methane is produced by living things on earth, such as bacteria. Even the smallest amount in the atmosphere of a planet might indicate that there are living creatures on it.
2. To make a laser work efficiently, it is necessary to have a large collection of atoms which are in the ‘excited state’. Generally, the atoms are excited to a state which is two or three levels above the normal ground state – this increases the degree of population inversion (the number of atoms in the ‘excited state’ versus the number in ground state).
3. The light in a laser is more parallel than any other light source; every part of the beam has almost the exact same direction. This means the beam will diverge very little.
4. The ‘laser speckle’ used in speckle holography is very useful; it can be used in the vibrational analysis of structures. This is because when a structure under test begins to vibrate, an individual pattern begins to emerge in the speckle. This is dependant on the shape of the structure, and which harmonic mode is excited.
5. Scientists are currently experimenting with two foot thick lasers which are used to recreate the conditions of the sun. This is being done at the National Ignition Facility, in fact, their facility was used in parts of one of the latest Star Trek movies.
6. The most powerful laser recorded was at 1.25 petawatts in a Californian laboratory in 1996.
7. In 1974 lasers were used commercially for the first time in supermarket barcode scanners.
8. In spite of some lasers being hotter than the surface of the sun, they can be used to cool atoms when combined with a magnetic field.
9. Laser tag was developed as a non-lethal training program for the United States Army in the 1970s.
10. Ever notice a grainy, sand-like quality to lasers? Its called “laser speckle”, and its the result of many waves of the same frequency, but different amplitude and phases, interfering with one another, creating new waves of random intensity.
- Subconlaser.co.- fascinating things about lasers.
- Electronicproducts.com laser facts.
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