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Some time in the 1980s I was flipping through an Omni magazine and in one of their "new in science" sections they had a short blurb on a new type of laser that generated a "beam" that was a complete 360 degree disk. This was not scanned, the laser cavity itself purportedly did this directly. The article was quoting one of the Soviet journals, and the accompanying photo showed something that looked like it was built out of natural gas piping.

I can think of a couple of ways this might have been accomplished using conventional tech, even the mundane solution of shining through appropriate optics, but the right-up made it clear this is not what was going on.

I've looked for this device on a couple of occasions since, but google simply turns up circular saws. Anyone know anything about this?

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  • $\begingroup$ I can only suggest that there are two types of lasers, generators and amplifiers. You can take a conventional generator laser, make its beam into a circle with a cone mirror and then amplify by sending it through a donut-shaped active medium of the amplifier laser. The key difference here is that the amplifier does not necessarily need any mirrors. Is can just amplify the light that passes through it once in the forward direction. $\endgroup$ – safesphere Aug 25 '17 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ Could it possibly be this: planar laser hanson.stanford.edu/researchReports/plif/… $\endgroup$ – docscience Aug 26 '17 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ No, that's an example of the "mundane" solution I was referring to, it's just some simple optics. $\endgroup$ – Maury Markowitz Aug 27 '17 at 16:15

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