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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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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389 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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185 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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683 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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744 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
705 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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2answers
180 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
165 views

Why does a laser beam stay collimated?

I am looking for a simple way of explaining the collimation of a laser beam. The typical discussion of the two slit experiment of quantum theory relies heavily on the Huygens principle. Its ...
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2answers
117 views

Is circular masking a laser beam an acceptable way to get the beam diameter you require?

I am wondering what are the down sides to just masking a laser to get the beam diameter you require? For example if you have a collimated eliptical beam of say 2mm width and 4mm height, but you ...
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452 views

Gamma Ray LASER Theory and Technology

I am aware that a similar question has been asked by someone else in the past, but in a very general form. Due to the physics interest and technology, in this question I put emphasis on the detail of ...
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2answers
142 views

Michelson interferometer interference pattern [duplicate]

My friend and I recently did an experiment on Lasers where we shot a laser beam through a Michelson interferometer and observed the interference pattern on the wall. Here is the basic setup: One ...
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1answer
542 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
135 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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143 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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361 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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3answers
98 views

Why can't incoherent light be collimated as well as laser light (e.g. in a laser pointer)?

Why does a laser pointer contain a laser diode, and not just an LED? A laser pointer contains a laser diode, which essentially shines coherent light over a large angle, and a collimating lens, to ...
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1answer
959 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
274 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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40 views

Natural linewidth of hyperfine levels?

The D2 line of $^{87}Rb$ is the transition between the $5^2$$P_{3/2}$ and the $5^2$$S_{1/2}$ states. Its linewidth $\Gamma$ is always quoted to be $\sim 6 MHz$. But both states have hyperfine ...
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7k views

From power of a laser beam to electric field amplitude

In my experiment, I use a laser beam with wavelength $\lambda=894 \text{nm}$ for some magnetic resonance experiment. Right now, I'm doing some calculation using Quantum Mechanics, which requires the ...
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3answers
294 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
321 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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4k 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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1answer
220 views

Why are laser pulses Sech Squared in temporal shape?

Ultrashort pulses from mode-locked lasers often have a temporal shape which can be described with a squared hyperbolic secant ($\mathrm{sech}^2$) function: $$ P(t)=P_0 \mathrm{sech}^2 \left( ...
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343 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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2k 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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1answer
1k views

Can a UV LED cause air ionization?

I am thinking of the high power LEDs at around 250nm wavelength and an output power of some 30mW optical, in continuous mode either divergent beam or focused.
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700 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 ...
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2answers
633 views

How we see laser light if it travels in a straight path? [duplicate]

Light travels in straight path, and our eyes detects an object's reflected light then we see the object. So if laser light is going in a straight path, how come we can see laser light?
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904 views

Is single photon perfectly monochromatic?

Now, we do have equipment to generate single photon at a time, and LASERs are nearly monochromatic. While typing the question, am realizing that successive photons in case of single photon ...
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3answers
503 views

Why there is a minimum lasing threshold?

Can someone help me understand why it is often mentioned that for certain lasing media there is a certain minimum lasing threshold without mentioning resonator design & doping concentration? As ...
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1answer
100 views

Can polarization effect the coherence length?

I'm taking an optics lab in which I'm required to construct an interferometer, and measure the wavelength of a laser, and the coherence length of the light emitted from a candle fire. Now, I've been ...
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2answers
51 views

What is crater's influence on laser ablation?

In many laser ablation experiments (especially Pulsed Laser Deposition), target is moving to avoid crater formation. But I can't find any source that says why it is needed to avoid it. So why is ...
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1answer
268 views

Laser diode spectrum vs LED spectrum, why so much difference in broadness?

I've been reading about how light is produced in both laser diodes (the most common types of lasers) and LED's. The mechanism seems very similar if not exactly the same: one applies a potential ...
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283 views

Stimulated emission and No cloning theorem

I have a little trouble with the simulated emission. I know of the no-cloning theorem which states that it is not possible to duplicate any state. One the other hand, I know about the stimulated ...
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2answers
336 views

Conservation of energy (or lack thereof) in Doppler cooling [duplicate]

I did not find my question answered elsewhere, so here it is. I'm doing a project in my first optics course, and we are reading a bit about Doppler cooling. I understand that a laser is tuned to a ...
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3answers
115 views

Simple Experimental Laser Characterization Parameters Ideas?

I have 2 months to do a project on characterization of a laser parameter. We have typical optics lab equipment (DFB Lasers, oscilloscopes, random number generator, etc.). I was told to choose a laser ...
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1answer
142 views

Polarisation of light is a wave concept or applicable to photons as well?

I have a very fundamental question. We explain polarisation of light assuming wave nature of light. Is it still valid if we assume light as photons? Or in other words, polarisation is a wave concept ...
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1answer
404 views

What happens if an already excited electron gets hit by another photon (lasers)?

Slightly vague title but it is the best I can do. My question stems from some interest in how 3 stage lasers function. A photon from the pumping source comes in and strikes a atom in the active ...
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2answers
454 views

Redirecting light beams from beam splitters

I'm doing a project where I am taking a laser beam and sending it through a beam splitter. As I understand, approximately 50% of the light will go pass through and 50% will be reflected. So this means ...
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2answers
1k views

Propagation of light in transparent media: absorption and reemission or scattering?

In the two Phys.SE questions What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium? and Why glass is transparent? transparent media were discussed. But I'd like to clarify ...
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54 views

Does laser light with less than the work function still ionise some atoms?

If a gas is illuminated with a laser of a frequency less than (but more than half of) the work function of the atoms in the gas, the atoms will be excited into Rydberg atoms. Is there a finite chance ...
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1answer
180 views

Can I catch a single photon with webcam's CMOS or CCD sensors?

I thought it would be nice to capturing single photons using a webcam's sensor due to simplicity. I've read that ccd and cmos sensors have a certain percent of quantum efficiency. What about ...
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1answer
49 views

Laser cutting - ignition

How is that sometimes laser cutting by burning material or "flame cutting" causes ignition of the whole material like here where the whole paper starts to burn and sometimes doesn't allowing precise ...
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1answer
231 views

How powerful would a laser need to be to make a hole in snow?

How strong would a laser beam have to be (and what frequency would be optimal) for it to be able to make a hole in snow? Here I am looking for a laser beam that could make the hole after less than 2 ...
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1answer
227 views

What determines the form of the intensity curves in Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) measurements?

What determines the form of the intensity spectra of different particle species in Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) measurements? See e.g. I figure that bigger particles have more ways to get ...
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1answer
300 views

Laser Transverse/Longitudnal Modes

When we say Laser transverse modes. Is that mean what we will get at the output spot of laser beam ? secondly In practice , what TEM01 or TEMnm means ?
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1answer
3k views

Doppler cooling limit vs recoil limit

I was discussing laser cooling in class today and I understood that the main principle of the process is to tune a laser to a frequency lower than the absorbtion frequency of the atom and so only the ...
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1answer
386 views

What is the optical power level of common fiber optics lasers?

In the book Nonlinear Optics, it is stated that the nonlinear effects start to become a problem in WDM systems (around 1550 nm) after about 1 mW of optical power. However, I measured the optical power ...
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513 views

Why we don't see long range airborne CO2 lasers?

I wonder, why http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_YAL-1 is not CO2 one? Are the issues with air transparency at 10um? Or it's impossible to focus on large distances due to diffraction?