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A Brief History of Lasers

The origin of lasers goes back over 50 years. In fact, the first lasers were created and used during World War II. Charles Townes, working at Bell Laboratories, was tasked with developing radar assisted bombing systems and microwave generators. He was following Einstein’s theory of stimulated emission, where energy is taken from the transition in a molecule or an atom. From this, Townes created a photon flux by amplifying Magnetic waves. His device was called MASER, which stood for Microwaves Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

At first, Masers were used for scientific research. Industrial and military engineers did not see the practical application of the devices. Townes continued to work on his invention throughout the 50s, and in 1957 he moved from infrared waves to short waves. He partnered with Arthur Schalow, who was able to bring the final solution: place desired atoms in a narrow, extended cavity that has mirrors at both ends. The mirrors shuttle rays back and forth, which makes it more likely for the particle to radiate. One of the two mirrors is partly silvered so that it is possible for a small number of rays to leak out.

A graduate student at Columbia University, Gordon Could, met with Townes to further develop what we know today as the modern laser. The three scientists pushed forward the basic principles of the contemporary laser, but they were never able to build a working device. Soon after the three, Thomas Maiman came along to create the first laser in 1960. He was able to construct a machine (Ruby Laser) that was able to produce a straight red laser beam.

Many advancements have been made in laser technology, and now the tool is widely used. Laser cutting is performed in almost every single industry, from commercial and home to scientific. We do laser cutting acrylic because it offers our customer the best and most accurate cuts found with any cutting application.


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