What does the word laser stand for to begin with?

Did you know that the word laser is actually an acronym?

Maybe you’ve worked with lasers for a long time, but never took the time to stop and ask yourself what the full meaning of the laser acronym is. Well, here it is…

The full meaning of the LASER acronym

The word LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Keep reading to learn more interesting facts about lasers.

Quick overview of the world of lasers

What makes lasers unique compared to other light sources is that they emit light that is both spatially coherent and temporally coherent. What it means is that all the photons have the same frequency and phase.

The first one was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow. At that time, the lasers were called “a solution in search of a problem”, which is often the case for innovative invention.

 

 

Nowadays, one can say that new applications for lasers see the light (no pun intended) almost every day. The most life-changing application of lasers in modern society is probably the use of optical fibers in telecommunications.

For example, according to an article from OSA (The Optical Society) in 2016, Ethernet technology has evolved from an original speed of 2.94 megabits per second (mbps) to 100 mbps. A team of researchers recently managed to send 560 gigabits per second of data over two kilometers in a single mode optical fiber. That kind of rate is game-changing in commercial and industrial applications.

There are 3 parameters to keep in mind in the laser world to characterize how one can help in particular application:

  1. Power: high-power lasers are now widely available. Companies dealing with metal processing and defense benefit the most from double-digit kilowatt lasers, and either a larger company or a modest one can increase its yield and production with such lasers.
  2. Precision: thanks to the prevalence of high-quality optics in the current market, it is possible to collimate, or at least focus down, a beam to a very small area when it reaches its target. This allows higher refinement on manufactured items, such as in laser marking and peening.
  3. Choice: lasers have different functions depending on their spectral component. Just like a medical expert has many different solutions to treat different ailments, an engineer can do different things in his production line using lasers of different wavelengths.

That being said, having so many options to choose from requires you to ensure you have the right stuff: to do so, you need to confirm either the power, energy per pulse, or even the quality of the beam profile.

This is where our 45 years of experience in laser beam measurement at Gentec-EO comes into the picture. We can measure basically any kind of laser of any power or energy level. Our baseline catalog selection includes more than 500 products, so it goes without saying that we rarely come short of solutions when dealing in a new business opportunity. When it does happen though, we are not shy to go for a custom offering.

That’s it! Now you not only know what the word laser stands for but also have a better understanding of this light source. Want to learn more stuff about the world of lasers? Subscribe to our free newsletter below to receive our next articles written by our laser beam measurement experts at Gentec-EO.


Claude Lachance
Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at Gentec-EO
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