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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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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3k views

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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911 views

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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3k views

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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982 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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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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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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329 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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1answer
105 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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438 views

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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69 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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1answer
147 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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67 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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72 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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235 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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211 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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4answers
391 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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Free Optics Simulation Programs

I'm having an extremely difficult time finding an optics program that is easy to use and offers accurate physics simulations. I'm not asking for much, I just want to be able to simulate a laser going ...
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2answers
239 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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2k views

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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282 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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2k views

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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4answers
79 views

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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2answers
379 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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139 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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1answer
675 views

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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369 views

Counterpropagating beams in a ring cavity lasers

Ring cavity lasers usually has a intracavity element like a optical diode to forbid standing wave pattern and, consequently, spacial hole burning and related instabilities. So, my question is: why to ...
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227 views

Will a laser beam be affected by the Coriolis Force?

Electronic aiming systems use automated rangefinders that can sometimes be based on lasers. Obviously a projectile itself will be subject to the Coriolis Force (among others) and deviate from its ...
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145 views

Can we fire a single femtosecond pulse of light without an associated train of additional pulses? What sort of equipment allows for this?

What sort of mode-locked laser systems allow for the production of single isolated pulse of light (as opposed to a train of more than one pulse), where the individual pulse duration is on order ...
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441 views

Rocket propelled by a giant monochromatic laser

I am preparing for my quals and stumbled across the following problem, and although it only requires undergraduate-level physics, I feel I can't piece everything together. "A rocket of mass $m_0$ is ...
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523 views

Optical Drive Physics

I have been recently wondering how is data stored on and retrieved from optical devices like CDs, DVDs, and Bluray. What makes these different storage types different from each other?
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1answer
559 views

Focusing laser & off-axis illumination & diffraction limit

I've thought I had a good understanding how resolution enhancement tricks works for projection lithography, until I tried to understand if it's possible to get sub-diffraction performance for focused ...
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169 views

Optical element is heated by laser: is it possible to get oscillating heat distribution?

Imagine that we have thin optical element, which is irradiated by laser. Laser heats element, so there is some heat distribution in element. There is a heat sink through upper and lower element faces ...
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2answers
172 views

Spectrum of generic $\mathrm{CO_2}$ laser

It is often quoted, that it's emission is 10.6um. But we also know that CO2 lasers have huge number of possible emission lines in 2 main bands: 10.6um and 9.6/9.4um. But what is emission spectra of ...
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277 views

Will overlapping two different beams of coherent light cause interference?

I have two laser beams with same polarization running parallel to each other. Will they interfere? If yes, then what are the conditions (perpendicular distance etc) and how can I observe the ...
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1answer
108 views

What low-level process drives a frequency-doubling crystal?

I was reading about second-harmonic generation (SHG) crystals (or frequency-doubling crystals) used to produce green laser light from IR. What low-level process in the crystal is actually driving ...
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2k views

Can 2 beams of ultraviolet light intersect and be visible where they intersect?

Is it possible that if you have 2 ultraviolet lasers, that are invisible to the human eye, and if you aim their beams to intersect at some point, that the place of intersection will show a lower ...
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1answer
135 views

What theories allow for “Tractor Beams”?

NASA recently announced $100k grant to study the possibility of using laser tractor beams. What tractor beam concepts have been published but not been dis-proven?
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1answer
276 views

Laser frequency tripling

I've heard that common way to get 354nm laser is to triple 1064nm Nd:YAG one. But how to make non-linear crystal to do tripling instead of doubling? What are the best crystals for tripling and what's ...
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1answer
669 views

Turn-on delay time for Laser diode

Do you know any simple explanation on the reason why the turn-on delay time on a laser diode is reducing while we increase the bias current? Turn on delay,is the time that the laser needs from the ...
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1answer
240 views

what is the probability distribution for the angle of an approximate laserbeam

I'm trying to simulate the light distribution characteristics from a Gaussian laser beam, but having difficulty with the angular distribution. I need to generate a large number of points on an x/y ...
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5k 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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3answers
105 views

Proper and rigourous derivation of Gaussian beam?

Gaussian beams are known solutions to the Paraxial Wave Equation: $$ \frac{\partial^2 \Psi(x,y,t)}{\partial^2 x} + \frac{\partial^2 \Psi(x,y,t)}{\partial^2 y} = 2ik\frac{\partial ...
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3answers
207 views

Stimulated Emission

In the case of stimulated emission we always see that one photon goes into the gain medium and two photons come out. How can this conserve energy?
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2answers
2k views

Would a laser with four possible energy levels be better than three?

I'm wondering about achieving population inversion for a laser. I learned that without an active medium, it's not possible to create a laser with only two energy levels, but it would be possible with ...
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2answers
176 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
112 views

What makes a material a good lens for CO2 lasers?

I read on Wikipedia that zinc selenide and germanium make good lenses for $\mathrm{CO}_2$ lasers. My question is, Why?
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1answer
1k views

Beam splitters- Direction of use

There are two cases I'm asking about. The square in the middle is a cube beam splitter in the same orientation for both cases. We are looking at the beam splitter from the top. In the first case, ...
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4answers
276 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
559 views

The most price-efficient experimental setup involving SPDC, single-photon counting etc

I would like a suggestion on a price-efficient way of experimenting with spontaneous down-conversion and single-photon counting. The simple dual-slit experiment could be one part of an application ...