Laser History

Stimulated Emission - 1917Albert Einstein

first proposed the process that makes lasers possible called "Stimulated Emission."

Holography - 1947
Gabor developed the theory of holography, that requires laser light for its realization.
He received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.

Maser - 1954
The first papers about the maser were published in 1954 as a result of investigations carried out simultaneously and independently by Townes and his co-workers at Columbia University in New York and by Basov and Prokhorov at the Lebedev Institute in Moscow. Their work continued throughout the '60s and the '70s.
For this work they were awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Laser - 1958

The optical maser or the laser dates from 1958, when the possibilities of applying the maser principle in the optical region were analyzed by Schawlow and Townes as well as in the Lebedev Institute. Laser spectroscopy was developed by Schawlow and his co-workers at Stanford University and, around the same time, Bloembergen and his co-workers developed nonlinear optics which is a very special application of laserspectroscopy.
For this they were awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Ruby Laser - 1960

The first laser was operating in 1960. It was a ruby laser generating strong pulses of red light.

Semiconductor - 1963

Alferov and Kroemer proposed in 1963, independently of each other, the principle for semiconductor heterostructures to be used later in semiconductor laser which today, by far, is the most common laser.
For this work they were awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Corning Glass - 1970

Optic fiber made of corning glass has such low losses that telephone calls and telecommunication can be transferred for kilometers with the help of laser light.

Laser Cooling - 1980

In the '80s Chu, Cohen-Tannoudji and Phillips worked with laser cooling of atoms.
For this work they were awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The physicist Albert Einstein had described the theory of stimulated emission as early as 1917, but it would still take 30 years before engineers began to utilize this principle for practical purposes. Scientists were amazed by this technical breakthrough but laser technology itself had no real purpose. This is not exceptional, discoveries may need time before being put to use. Today laser is used in communication, industry, medicine, and environmental care and research. Laser has become one of the most powerful tools for scientists in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine throughout the world. One area that is considered to be very interesting is in the different methods to cool and capture atoms by using laser. We don't know yet what this knowledge and technology will be used for in the future, but we do know that future applications will be based on today's research. More details ...