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Laser History

April 13th Fact-of-the-Day

Most people involved with electronics know the word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. However, most probably don't realize the idea of producing light by stimulating electromagnetic emission from atoms is now 88 years old, because it is only in recent years that lasers have become so widely used. Credit for the original idea goes to Albert Einstein who first suggested in a paper published in 1917 that atoms could be stimulated to emit radiation. Credit for the first successful attempt goes to Charles H. Townes, who, in 1953, demonstrated a successful maser (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission or Radiation) he first conceived in 1951. Credit for development of a light emitting version is not so clear. People still argue about who it should go to. However, in 1987, after two decades of legal struggles, Gordon Gould eventually obtained the last of three patents on important aspects of laser technology. ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.

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