Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A means of creating coherent light by either driving an atomic or molecular transition in an optical cavity or firing a beam of electrons through an undulator.

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Homemade Spectrometer

Recently I have had ideas of how to build a spectroscope, but I'm not sure if it will work. As can be seen in the diagram, the experiment is simple: it consists of a laser that generates the light ...
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Lasing in a 2-Level system?

What exactly is the difference between 2-Level, 3-Level and 4-Level systems? Why can we not achieve stimulated emission in a two-level system using optical pumping?
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559 views

Why is laser light a cone?

What about the production of laser light disallows it to be perfectly straight as opposed to a cone? I feel like it should be a plane wave, not a very tight cone.
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Why is the photon emitted in the same direction as incoming radiation in Laser?

When an atom “lases” it always gives up its energy in the same direction and phase as the incoming light. Why does this happen? How can this be explained? How does the photon generated because of ...
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Do laser beams interfere noticeably with each other?

I want to arrange some red lasers along a 90 degree arc of a circle, aimed towards the center of the circle. When their beams hit the opposite side of the circle, will I notice any interference ...
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laser pointer class III and potential eye damage

We just bought a green laser pointer on Ebay and had a discussion about the safety. The laser is low end chinese one (5 USD, free shipping :-) ) and the seller says this: Green Laser Pointer Point ...
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Does there exist a laser that is tunable over the whole visible spectrum?

Does there exist a laser that is tunable over the whole visible spectrum? If so does there exist one that is solid state? This is to settle a score with my dumb workmates.
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Why are lasers inefficient?

Why are lasers inefficient? Is it because of the heat lost during lasing? Why couldn't there be thermocouples or turbines in parts of the cooling circuits to extract something out of that heat?
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856 views

Recently publicized experiment on destructive interference between two laser beams

Recently I've had several non-physicist friends ask me, independently of each other, about an experiment where two collinear laser beams destructively interfere along a certain length. Everybody wants ...
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216 views

Why not just pump directly to the $3^\mathrm{rd}$ level directly in a $4$-level laser system?

In a 4-level laser system, the pumping is usually from level 1 (the ground state) to level 4 (the highest-energy state). Image source Why do such schemes not pump directly to the third level? Will ...
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653 views

Far-field intensity from scattering of small particles

Howdy, I'm building a simulation for looking at the light field underwater. In order to verify my simulation, I'm looking for some data showing the far-field intensity that comes from single ...
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280 views

How is the phase of the stimulated emission in a laser first “chosen”?

As I understand, once you have a population inversion and the excited atoms decay they will emit in random directions, and the ones that emit along the axis of the medium will cause stimulated ...
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629 views

What makes excimer lasers so complex, rare and expensive?

We all can agree that UV lasers are extremely useful, but we (poor majority) are still struggling with 355nm DPSS ones, while excimer lasers being prohibitively expensive (let's say at 1-10W average ...
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1answer
108 views

Stimulated Emission in Free-Electron Lasers

I've been reading about free-electron lasers these days. The basic principle is clear: In the undulator electrons spontaneousely emit synchrotron radiation. A self-attunement takes place, causing the ...
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228 views

PSF Measurements In Fluorescence Imaging

Quite a technical question! I have measured the Point Spread Function of 100nm fluorescent breads with my Olympus scanning head. I'm two-photon exciting the beads with a wavelength of 800nm and ...
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111 views

Photon pumping in Laser

Let's consider a ring laser where the laser must pass through the gain material before it is sent toward a partially reflective surface $\ R=1-T $. The other mirrors are perfect reflectors with $\ ...
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4answers
606 views

Why isn't V. A. Fabricant given the credit for the discovery of the laser?

In another question here I asked for help in finding old Russian papers in physics and as an example I gave the founding papers on the laser by Basov and Prokhorov (from 1945 and 1954). In an answer ...
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Focusing and collimating laser light on a table top scale

I am looking for a summary of practical methods of focusing and collimating laser light, which I guess are contradictory objectives, or are they? For example, when I use typical small diode lasers, ...
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488 views

Laser beam shaping

Hi I like to build a laser pointer that reflects different shapes for a project I am working on. I know this can be done with Diffractive Optical Elements. Are there other options? DOEs are expensive. ...
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448 views

How can beam divergence be corrected for in a CO2 laser cutter?

I have a 90W RECI CO2 laser tube that I recently measured the beam divergence on. This was done by pointing the laser at a fire brick and melting it for a few seconds at different distances. Multiple ...
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506 views

Will a prism widen a monochromatic beam?

The representation of the experiment which demonstrates that white light consists of many colors, invariably shows that the beam of white light is broadened inside the prism and is some what more ...
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Three polarizers, 45° apart

If light is passed through two polarizing filters before arriving at a target, and both of the filters are oriented at 90° to each other, then no light will be received at the target. If a third ...
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109 views

Laser mode locking

I don't understand why we need to do mode locking in laser to generate short impulse ? Indeed, If I see this picture from wikipedia : By using multiple frequencies and the limit conditions of my ...
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1k views

Line width of green DPSS laser

Could someone suggest what is the line width/mode stability/coherence length of generic cheapo green (532nm) DPSS laser? I've found lots of nice info here: ...
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7 W medical laser without any precautions?

Today I got some medical laser treatment to treat some tendon irritation. The doctor used a red or IR laser with 7 W of power. He casually applied the laser onto the knee and was panning over the ...
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2k views

How do “holographic plates” work?

I asked a question about laser stage lighting over at Audio Video Production, and received an excellent answer that explained that laser clusters are generated from a single beam via something called ...
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Laser cutting/drilling of copper

In industry, it's common to cut steel using 50-200 W $\mathrm{CO}_2$ laser. Meanwhile, for making holes in PCB (35 $\mu$m of Cu), DPSS 355 nm laser is usually used and secondary $\mathrm{CO}_2$ to ...
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350 views

Did anyone claim that quantum theory meant lasers would never work

I've been reading 'How the Hippies saved Physics', which describes a design for a superluminal communication device, of which the crucial part was a laser which duplicated an incoming photon many ...
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Laser, wire, and a circle of light

So, when I point a laser at a piece of wire (pointed at a specific angle), a circle of light appears on a wall behind it (see image below). I am trying to see why this happens and if there are any ...
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252 views

What causes light to travel through a curved fountain of water?

Today I observed a tilted fountain spurting water upward (the water fell smoothly; no detectable turbulence). A colored light was shown upward into the water as it left its source. This light traveled ...
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1answer
51 views

Laser resonator analytic formula for sum of modes

For a sum of N modes in a resonator with identical phases, find an analytic formula for the pulse shape in the limit of many modes. Use the analytic expression for the sum of a geometric series. ...
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1answer
331 views

Options to correct rectangular laser beam profile?

We recently switched to a 405 nm laser diode which has a terrible beam profile -- it is a well-defined rectangle with an aspect ratio of about 10:1. The image below shows the collimated beam which ...
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1answer
165 views

Optical laser pumping and reflectors

Let's say we are building Nd:YAG laser. It is optically pumped by some linear xenon flash lamps, it absorbs light around 750nm and 800nm, and emitted light is at 1064nm. The question is why doesn't ...
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71 views

what general physical arguments discredit induced emission of nuclei?

trying to read a bit about "quantum nucleonics", i've encountered this rebuttal from people at Livermore that induced radiation stimulation of Hafnium nuclei is possible. Something that catches my eye ...
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241 views

What reflective media do laser shows use?

I am having a hard time in finding out what exact light media laser shows use. I am trying to build a laser show myself. I know that the laser light is reflected off these particles in such a way that ...
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264 views

Is there any physical quantity that does not have uncertainty?

I saw this video and I got a thought: Is there any physical quantity that does not have uncertainty? Basic models are: for lenght for time end energy (so for mass too) and I realized that ...
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7k views

How do laser rangefinders work when the object surface is not perpendicular to the laser beam?

I find the functioning of a laser rangefinder confusing. The explanation usually goes like this: "you shine a laser beam onto the object, the laser beam gets reflected and gets back to the device and ...
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4answers
1k views

Why do lasers require mirror at the ends?

Laser uses mirrors to reflect photons in order to stimulate atoms to emit photons, but why this is so?. I mean, why does a photon stimulate atoms to produce more photons? If a photon made an atom to ...
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4answers
98 views

Intensity fluctuations at the output of a single mode fiber coupled to a He Ne laser

I have coupled a Thorlabs HNL050L-EC - HeNe, 632.8 nm, 5 mW, Polarized Laser to a 2 meter long single mode fiber patch chord using a Thorlabs F230-FC-B aspheric lens. While I am certainly able to ...
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2answers
609 views

How can laser communication be faster than microwave?

My textbook states that "Laser communication is much faster than microwave communication." But, how can that be? Both are electromagnetic waves with different frequencies but, how can the speed be ...
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337 views

Water Jet Cutter and Laser

I watched a video of "Glass cutting" which uses a Water Jet Cutter. It was said that Cutting glass simply by machines would eventually crack it... So, They're using grains of sand (by placing a sand ...
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2answers
761 views

What does $g^{(2)}$ signify in quantum optics? And how to calculate it?

I have been studying research papers on Quantum Optics and non-linear optics. I frequently come across the $g^{(2)}$ value. What does it signify? What is its importance? How to calculate it? And ...
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2answers
537 views

What is the meaning of “CW” in LASER?

I am reading a user's manual, and the word appears here. At first, I think "CW" means "center wave". But later, I find that the meaning of "CW" is "continuous wave". It makes me confused. ...
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474 views

A light so strong it has a shadow

I have recently taken an interest in shadows. I know that in order for a shadow to exist that you must have a solid in the way of the light. My hypothesis is that there can be a light so strong, like ...
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2answers
460 views

What is a good reference for the quantum mechanical description of lasers?

I am currently taking a graduate level class on lasers. The primary focus of the class is on the design and engineering aspects of lasers, e.g. resonator design. However the first portion of the class ...
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3answers
348 views

Why does shining a laser into an iPhone camera create these shapes?

When I shine a laser light into an iPhone 6 camera I get these weird shapes: The shapes are in no way in the background behind the laser. What causes these to appear? I know about typical lense ...
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2answers
1k views

How can a green laser be reflected as orange?

My friend recently bought a high-powerd pocket laser pen (from China). It is green, and reflects off most surfaces as green. On some orange surfaces, it reflects orange instead. That is to say, we ...
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2answers
405 views

Is gravity the current limitation to laser cooling?

This is something I've been wondering for a while. I've read about the experiment with NASA to reach unprecedented cold temperatures in space because of the microgravity environment not being such a ...
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1answer
336 views

Are there naturally occurring lasers in nature?

Are there natural processes we've discovered which lead to laser light of some distinct wavelength?
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98 views

How to measure temperature of a laser cooled sample at picoKelvin temperatures?

I'm reading about laser cooling.. my question is: how can the temperature of the sample be measured? (using laser cooling we can reach $10^{-12}K...)$