CHRISTMAS LECTURES 1987 - Thomas and Phillips - Constructing a laser
About this video
Crystals and lasers - lecture 4
From the programme:
How easy is it to assemble a laser? We shall answer this question by reconstructing what Maiman did in 1960 in California, where the laser was first demonstrated. A photographer’s flash tube, along with a good-quality rod of aluminium oxide doped with chromium is one of the key components of the so-called ruby laser. But there aer many other types of systems, chemical and physical, which can be induced to ‘lase’. The requirement for ‘lasing action’ – the creation of a ‘population inversion’ of excited states – will be illustrated, and the stimulation of these excited states to give up their energy in the form of light emission demonstrated. Thus laser light emerges from a cavity as a narrow, exceptionally intense and parallel beam which can be put to many uses. There are lasers which operate in the ultra-violet, visible or infrared regions of the spectrum and a few of their properties will be demonstrated. Some lasers can be made to produce ultra-short pulses of light, others extraordinarily ‘pure’ colours. The polarisations of laser light as well as its so-called ‘coherence’ will be illustrated.
We shall focus upon many other types of lasers, including those that operate in the gas phase and describe some of their spectacular properties.
- Christmas Lecture
- Professor John Meurig Thomas, Professor David Phillips
- London, UK
- Filmed in:
- The Theatre
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- CHRISTMAS LECTURES 1987: Crystals and lasers
Licence: Copyright Royal Institution
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The role crystals and lasers play in human and scientific life.