50 Years of Lasers

Advancing the Laser: 50 Years and Into the Future

The laser changed all our lives in the first 50 years following the first successful demonstration of the technology. SPIE pays tribute to the many scientistists and engineers who have made it happen.
The accelerated pace of development of quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology and its many applications -- such as detecting explosive chemicals on clothing, monitoring greenhouse gases and measuring blood sugar levels via breath analysis -- are featured in a special section published in the SPIE journal Optical Engineering

Lasers in medicine

The January 2011 issue of SPIE Professional features a comprehensive overview of "Lasers in Medicine."
Just a year after the laser was invented, Leon Goldman became the first researcher to use a laser to treat a human skin disease. His research also led to the application of the ruby laser in retinal surgery in the mid 1960s and to discoveries such as lasers being able to simultaneously cut skin and seal blood vessels to restrict bleeding.

Laser museum: a special display collected for the 50th anniversary
View a virtual museum of more than 100 vintage lasers in a traveling display organized by SPIE and shown at major laser conferences during the anniversary year as well as a semester-long celebration of the laser at Flandrau planetarium at the Univ. of Arizona.