14 April, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge: L Stands For: Laser

Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It has been noted, however, that the acronym "Loser" for Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation would be more accurate.

A laser is constructed from an energy source, a gain medium, and two mirrors.


Some of the most common sources of energy for a laser, called the pump source, are flash lamps, arc lamps, and external lasers, but microwaves, radiofrequency radiation, the sun, electric glow discharge (a type of plasma), electron beams, the supersonic flow of gases such as CO2, chemical reactions, and nuclear fission have also been used.


There are thousands of different gain media, which is also known as laser media. Liquids such as organic chemical solvents combined with chemical dyes, gases such as carbon dioxide, argon, krypton, and mixtures of helium-neon, and solids such as crystals and glasses with added impurities, are some examples.


The optical resonator, also called the optical cavity, in its simplest form is made of two parallel mirrors surrounding the gain medium. One is a high reflector and one is a partial reflector.

When light is spontaneously emitted from the medium, it is reflected by the mirrors back into the medium and then amplified by stimulated emission. Stimulated emission is when an atom interacts with a wave of a certain electromagnetic frequency, drops to a lower energy level, and emits a photon.

The emitted photons are what you see as a beam of light.


In 1960, lasers were called a "solution looking for a problem". Nowadays, they have widespread uses in electronics, information technology, science, medicine, industry, law enforcement, military, and entertainment.

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Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_construction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_pumping
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_glow_discharge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimulated_emission
http://science.howstuffworks.com/laser.htm

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How do you see the future of lasers? Do you think they'll continue being important in technology, or that they'll become obsolete with another discovery?


Also, while it's not particularly earth-shattering, I rewrote the "About This Blog" page. I felt like it needed a serious change . . . and if you're interested, you can go HERE to read the new one.


-----The Golden Eagle
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31 comments:

Old Kitty said...

I never knew - until now -that laser is an acronym! Wow!! Thank you for enlightening me!! I love that the correct term for a laser is really a loser! Oh dear!

I've just read your About this Blog and it's lovely!! Yay - nice to meet you! Take care
x

Lauracea said...

I didn't know that it was an acronym either. I remember years ago at Christmas, London decided to have a laser show instead of Christmas lights in the streets. Apparently it blinded thousands of pigeons? Fact or fiction? :)

RaShelle said...

Lasers are COOL! Thanks for sharing. So fun.

Heather said...

This is awesome! I'm bookmarking it for research on the steampunk novel I'm brainstorming. Thanks!

Kris Kaumeyer said...

Lasers have always fascinated me. It still baffles me how they make holograms with lasers.

Funny how the appropriate name does not sound cool at all. I'm not sure anyone would want to see a loser light show or wield a loser gun.

Nate Wilson said...

As everyone knows, eventually we will harness the power of the laser to create working light sabers. Millions upon millions will die, almost all of them men, because they'll be waging endless duels just because it's so cool. (Those who live but lose a hand will replace their hand with a light saber.)

You may think I'm exaggerating, but clearly you underestimate the stupidity of the male mind.

Tomara Armstrong said...

I giggled about your suggested acronym change.

I am pretty sure that the laser is where it's at. It will modified and refined, but the underlying technology will be timeless.

~2

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

I love lasers and think they're awesome. So is this post about them!

Michelle Merrill said...

I kind of think lasers will be around for some time. They are really important. I love their uses in the medical world. Thanks for the info.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Lasers with definitely continue to grow and develop into everyday uses at some point in time. They already are to a certain degree in our technology.

Siv Maria said...

I just love a good laser show, but I do understand the importance of laser technology which you so aptly point out.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Just had the detached retina re-stapled to the back of my eye with a laser, thank goodness. :0)

Josh Hoyt said...

There was a news article about the military using a laser on a boat that will overheat the engines of another boat. They are planning on using it against pirates. Lasers will not be replaced they still have so much potential. I mean we still don't have a laser gun that everyone carries around :)

M Pax said...

Lasers are fascinating. We use the green ones up at the observatory as it looks like we're touching the stars. We have to be careful of planes. Good thing we're out in the sticks.

Niki said...

wow I didnt know laser was an acronym. They are neat :) Thanks for teaching me something new today!

N. R. Williams said...

Good question, Golden. I do believe lasers will become less expensive and more useful in the near future. As far as the distant future, who knows, anything might happen.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Lynda R Young said...

Laser goes pew pew! I love lasers. They are so... snazzy. I do think they will have a part to play in future tech.

Liz P said...

Always thought lasers were cool. I try to use the laser pointer at work whenever I can...hehe.

This reminded me - in elementary school when we had our photos done, one of the backdrops you could choose were a bunch of laser beams criss-crossing. You were considered "cool" if you got that background.

Susan Fields said...

Very educational! "A solution looking for a problem" - looks like it found a few. :)

Michelle in a shell said...

Interesting info! No idea Laser was an acronym! I think the best kind of laser is a light saber :)

Madeleine said...

Amazing invention.
But what about those in Star Wars? Aren't they meant to be laser sabres or something? ;O)

salarsenッ said...

That was quite interesting! I'm agreeing with RaShelle--lazers are cool. Thanks for sharing. Hopping over from the A-Z Challenge. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden Eagle .. great information .. especially the LOSER part - does sound more sensible though.

Lasers are used for so much .. medical aspects too, zapping kidney stones etc ..

Definitely they've still got a future. Cheers Hilary

Simon Kewin said...

Lovely! And most enlightening.

Greg said...

Interesting that they used the acronym laser instead of loser. Its way cooler. Very interesting post, well researched and educational.

Thanks for the good read.

The Golden Eagle said...

Old Kitty: I wonder why they stopped capitalizing it completely--the way other acronyms are. CERN and LHC are in caps, but not "laser".

Thank you!

Lauracea: I don't know . . . hang on, I'm going to look it up.

All I could find were references to pest control using lasers. And your comment here on my blog. :)

RaShelle: They are. :D

Anytime!

Heather: You're welcome! I hope it comes in handy for your novel.

Kris: They can make holograms with lasers? I didn't know that!

Unless the word "loser" suddenly became cool, I don't think so, either. :P

Nate: Light saber wars? Er . . . I think I'll stay out of those.

2: Well, it's true! :D

Probably.

Varmit: Thank you! :)

Michelle: I agree, their medical uses are amazing.

You're very welcome!

Michael: Yup! We just don't see them much--at least in the beam of light form usually associated with the word "laser".

Siv: I've never been to a laser show--but it's impressive the way lasers are used in so many different areas.

The Golden Eagle said...

Carole: Wow. I hope the surgery went well!

Josh: I heard about that! It's pretty amazing the way the boat engine just started burning up . . . and a tad scary. :P

IDK--I'm kind of glad people aren't carrying around laser guns!

M: That sounds so cool!

The laser's that powerful?

Niki: It's not obvious it is . . . no capitalization.

Anytime! :D

Nancy: Hopefully they'll find helpful uses for them! :)

Lynda: Snazzy is right!

Me, too.

Liz: LOL.

Well, I can see how that would happen! A laser background sounds awesome. Did you ever get it?

Susan: Good thing, too!

Michelle: There seems to be agreement on laser weapons. And I can see how sparring with light would be cool!

Madeleine: Definitely.

Er, I think so--I just thought those sword-things they were holding were, I don't know, florescent bulbs or something like that. LOL. :P

The Golden Eagle said...

Salarsen: They are, aren't they? :D

You're welcome!

I'll be right over to return the favor--thanks for commenting!

Hilary: LOL. "Loser" just doesn't have quite the same ring!

I agree.

Simon: Thanks!

I hope you the information comes in handy sometime.

Greg: It is cooler, isn't it? :)

You're welcome!

Thank you for commenting!

Stratoz said...

I am a fan of all light, and you made me smile with the LOSER thing!

Jack Edwards Poetry said...

Such an interesting post.

The Golden Eagle said...

Stratoz: It is pretty amusing, especially the way people thin of "laser" as being cool. :P

Jack: Thanks!