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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What makes some laser beams visible and other laser beams invisible?

What makes the beam of some lasers: 1-visible? such as the ones used in clubs or such as the laser pointers sold at amazon which if pointed to the sky look like a solid visible beam of light ...
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2answers
1k views

Can energy be extracted from clouds?

Can cloud charge imbalance be used as an energy source? First off quite some energy must be present in clouds: a lightning path is quite long, and electrical breakdown of air requires about 1MV/m. ...
1
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0answers
123 views

What narrow-linewidth laser system runs at 2100nm with 1W of power?

For an experiment at our university we need a laser that runs at about 2.1 μm (about 20nm higher or lower would be fine too. We have found a multitude of lasers that achieve this (typically Thulium- ...
4
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1answer
510 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
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0answers
273 views

Levitation rotation speed involving laser acceleration, pyrolytic graphite and a vacuum

The experment would involve a small NIB magnet levitating between or on the diamagnetic material pyrolytic graphite, unlike other forms of levitation this doesn't require power to run such as ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

laser spectral width vs. linewidth

I have been racking my brains over the differences between laser spectral width and something called the linewidth. The linewidth was written about in detail by Henry in 1982. The spectral width is ...
4
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1answer
129 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?
4
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1answer
217 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 ...
4
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2answers
166 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
321 views

What's the big deal with Nd:YAG rods?

I see the prices of Nd:YAG rods for lasers, and could someone explain why they are so expensive? Do they need to be mono-crystalline or something? Will Nd:YAG laser work with ...
4
votes
1answer
250 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
326 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?
4
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2answers
822 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: ...
2
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0answers
220 views

How is the “negative dispersion” derived?

I'm looking at Kopfermann H., Ladenburg R., Nature, 122, 338-339 (1928) and it appears Ladenburg in Ladenburg R., Z.Physik, 4, 451-468 (1921) was the first to discover the phenomenon of "negative ...
5
votes
4answers
516 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 ...
5
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2answers
403 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
950 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 ...
13
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3answers
5k views

Physics of Focusing a Laser

The temperature that a solar death ray can produce is limited due to the solid angle of the sun itself. Entropic arguments dictate that you can't focus the sun's light to create temperatures higher ...
4
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3answers
356 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. ...
1
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4answers
2k views

How can a laser pointer have range of several kilometers in atmosphere?

Laser pointers manufacturers claim that some pointers have range of several kilometers. Okay, they use a powerful laser, but that powerful laser usually has power less than one watt. Okay, the laser ...
5
votes
1answer
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?
3
votes
2answers
512 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 ...
3
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3answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
807 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.
6
votes
3answers
707 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
540 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
900 views

Can you use a laser to measure the speed of light with a rotating mirror?

I have learned that the classical measurement of the speed of light with a rotating mirror does not work with a laser (as opposed to, say, a mercury-vapor lamp). Can you tell me if and how coherency ...
5
votes
2answers
233 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
356 views

Fairly Broad Spectrum Light Source Options

I tried this sight before to find filtering options and got fantastic results, so let's try again! I am setting up an experiment that requires light of two different frequencies (445nm and 350nm). ...
2
votes
0answers
308 views

Maxwell's Demon - laser cooling

There’s an interesting article on Scientific American that tells how to cool individual atoms to within a very tiny fraction of Absolute Zero. It uses two laser beams acting on a very cold rarified ...
10
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4answers
1k views

How to build a laser in the garage?

So I wonder if it is any how possible to build laser at home. A powerful one to melt brick.
11
votes
4answers
529 views

When lasers are used to cool atoms or ions, etc where does the heat go?

According to the first law of thermodynamics, sourced from wikipedia "In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same." So when lasers are used for cooling in traps, similar ...
4
votes
2answers
348 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 ...
9
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7answers
5k views

Why is a 1mW laser dangerous?

In our Physics lab we have a 1 milliwatt (0.001W) helium neon laser. Despite the low power, we were cautioned not to even look at reflections of the beam as it could cause permanent eye damage - why ...
2
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1answer
359 views

Generated wavelength of free electron laser

Could you please help me understand how one can measure output frequency of free electron laser (provided that we know size of magnetic domains and electron energy)? This should be a function of ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Can radio waves be formed into a pencil beam?

Laser beams are said to have high "spacial coherence". This means that the beam is highly concentrated even at long distances (low spread). Can this be achieved with radio waves (much longer waves) ...
6
votes
2answers
434 views

Good introductory papers and books on laser physics and pulsed lasers

I am looking for good introductory papers and/or books on the principles of lasers. In particular, I am interested in pulsed laser technology. I understand that Gould, R. Gordon (1959). "The ...
6
votes
2answers
154 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it possible to observe interference from 2 independent optical lasers?

It seems that if the coherence length of a laser is big enough, it is possible to observe a (moving) interference picture by combining them. Is it true? How fast should photo-detectors be for ...
2
votes
3answers
239 views

Material resistency to lasers beam

Keeping the average power constant, why some materials are more eager to be damaged by pulsed laser with respect of C.W. lasers, or viceversa? When i talk about pulsed lasers i think for examples of ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What ways are there to measure the local polarization of a laser beam?

Measuring the polarization of a laser beam is a simple enough task if the polarization is the same everywhere. You can even buy commercial polarimeters. How do you go about it if the light beam has ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What is an intuitive explanation of Gouy phase?

In laser resonators, higher order modes (i.e. TEM01, etc) accumulate phase faster than the fundamental TEM00 mode. This extra phase is called Gouy phase. What is an intuitive explanation of this ...