Red (660 & 635 nm), green (532 & 520 nm) and blue-violet (445 & 405 nm) lasers
Arthur Leonard Schawlow
A laser beam used for welding
frameless
A helium–neon laser demonstration. The glow running through the center of the tube is an electric discharge. This glowing plasma is the gain medium for the laser. The laser produces a tiny, intense spot on the screen to the right. The center of the spot appears white because the image is overexposed there.
Spectrum of a helium–neon laser. The actual bandwidth is much narrower than shown; the spectrum is limited by the measuring apparatus.
Lidar measurements of lunar topography made by Clementine mission.
Laserlink point to point optical wireless network
Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of the MESSENGER spacecraft
Aleksandr Prokhorov
Charles H. Townes
LASER notebook: First page of the notebook wherein Gordon Gould coined the acronym LASER, and described the elements required to construct one. Manuscript text: "Some rough calculations on the feasibility / of a LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated / Emission of Radiation. /
Conceive a tube terminated by optically flat / [Sketch of a tube] / partially reflecting parallel mirrors..."
Graph showing the history of maximum laser pulse intensity throughout the past 40 years.
Wavelengths of commercially available lasers. Laser types with distinct laser lines are shown above the wavelength bar, while below are shown lasers that can emit in a wavelength range. The color codifies the type of laser material (see the figure description for more details).
A 50 W FASOR, based on a Nd:YAG laser, used at the Starfire Optical Range
A 5.6 mm 'closed can' commercial laser diode, such as those used in a CD or DVD player
Close-up of a table-top dye laser based on Rhodamine 6G
The free-electron laser FELIX at the FOM Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen, Nieuwegein
Lasers range in size from microscopic diode lasers (top) with numerous applications, to football field sized neodymium glass lasers (bottom) used for inertial confinement fusion, nuclear weapons research and other high energy density physics experiments.
The US–Israeli Tactical High Energy weapon has been used to shoot down rockets and artillery shells.
Laser application in astronomical adaptive optics imaging

Arthur Leonard Schawlow (May 5, 1921 – April 28, 1999) was an American physicist and co-inventor of the laser with Charles Townes.

- Arthur Leonard Schawlow

The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.

- Laser
Red (660 & 635 nm), green (532 & 520 nm) and blue-violet (445 & 405 nm) lasers

4 related topics

Alpha

First prototype ammonia maser and inventor Charles H. Townes. The ammonia nozzle is at left in the box, the four brass rods at center are the quadrupole state selector, and the resonant cavity is at right. The 24 GHz microwaves exit through the vertical waveguide Townes is adjusting. At bottom are the vacuum pumps.

Maser

Device that produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification by stimulated emission.

Device that produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification by stimulated emission.

First prototype ammonia maser and inventor Charles H. Townes. The ammonia nozzle is at left in the box, the four brass rods at center are the quadrupole state selector, and the resonant cavity is at right. The 24 GHz microwaves exit through the vertical waveguide Townes is adjusting. At bottom are the vacuum pumps.
A hydrogen radio frequency discharge, the first element inside a hydrogen maser (see description below)
A hydrogen maser.

The laser works by the same principle as the maser but produces higher frequency coherent radiation at visible wavelengths.

The maser was the forerunner of the laser, inspiring theoretical work by Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow that led to the invention of the laser in 1960 by Theodore Maiman.

Theodore Maiman with the world's first laser in 1985

Theodore Maiman

Theodore Maiman with the world's first laser in 1985
Maiman and his father Abe
Maiman with his laser in July 1960.
World's first laser
One of Maiman's original synthetic ruby lasers, dimension 9x18mm
Shirley Rich Maiman, Theodore Harold Maiman (1927-2007), and daughter Sheri Maiman in Washington DC on 27 April 1966

Theodore Harold Maiman (July 11, 1927 – May 5, 2007) was an American engineer and physicist who is widely credited with the invention of the laser.

Their work was stimulated by a 1958 paper by Arthur L. Schawlow and Charles H. Townes offering theoretical analysis and a proposal for a gaseous system using potassium vapor excited by a potassium lamp.

Gordon Gould in 1940

Gordon Gould

Gordon Gould in 1940
The first page of the notebook in which Gould coined the acronym LASER and described the essential elements for constructing one.

Gordon Gould (July 17, 1920 – September 16, 2005) was an American physicist who is sometimes credited with the invention of the laser and the optical amplifier.

(Credit for the invention of the laser is disputed, since Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow were the first to publish the theory and Theodore Maiman was the first to build a working laser).

Bell Labs

Nokia Bell Labs, originally named Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984),

Nokia Bell Labs, originally named Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984),

Bell's 1893 Volta Bureau building in Washington, D.C.
The original home of Bell Laboratories beginning in 1925, 463 West Street, New York.
Old Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Located in New Jersey, about 20 miles south of New York.
Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1969 until 1983
Reconstruction of the directional antenna used in the discovery of radio emission of extraterrestrial origin by Karl Guthe Jansky at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1932
The first transistor, a point-contact germanium device, was invented at Bell Laboratories in 1947. This image shows a replica.
The charge-coupled device was invented by George E. Smith and Willard Boyle
The C programming language was developed in 1972.
Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1984 until 1995
Lucent Logo bearing the "Bell Labs Innovations" tagline
Pre-2013 logo of Alcatel-Lucent, parent company of Bell Labs
Nokia Bell Labs entrance sign at New Jersey headquarters in 2016

Researchers working at Bell Laboratories are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the photovoltaic cell, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages B, C, C++, S, SNOBOL, AWK, AMPL, and others.

In 1958, a technical paper by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes first described the laser.