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Chemistry LibreTexts

History

  • Laser development has an exciting history and includes a fair bit of controversy, some of which remains unresolved [1-4].
  • Charles Townes [5] laid groundwork for the laser in the 1950s by demonstrating amplification of electromagnetic waves by stimulated emission. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964.
  • The first working laser was demonstrated in 1960 by Theodore Maiman [6] at Hughes Research Laboratories.
  • The first laser was constructed from a small ruby rod. It was excited by an intense xenon lamp and emitted light at 694.3 nm [1,4].
  • The development of gas and semiconductor lasers followed soon after [2,4].