by Marina KHAL1ZEVA, journalist
In 2010 the scientific community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of laser. This invention is one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century, leading to mastery of nuclear energy, space exploration, creation of radiolocation devices, and computer production. The Russian Academy of Sciences and its institutes carried out a series of events on the occasion of this anniversary. The final event was a two-day session of the General meeting, held in December at the Big Hall of the Russian Academy of Sciences. There more than 500 leading scientists of our country discussed the use of optical quantum generators in nanotechnologies, thermonuclear synthesis, metrology, fiber optics, and other perspective branches of science, technology, and medicine.
TURNS OF HISTORY
The first working laser* was demonstrated by Theodore Maiman from the Research Laboratory of Hughes Aircraft Company in Malibu, California. The active sub-
* Laser ( Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation) is an optical quantum generator, transforming pumping energy (light, electrical, thermal, chemical, etc.) into a coherent monochromatic polarized narrow beam.--Ed.
stance in this laser was ruby, a mineral from aluminum oxide with a slight admixture of chromium (Cr), coloring it red. The scientist realized that Cr atoms, separated by large intervals, can "give light" no worse than gas. In order to create optical resonance, he pulverized a thin layer of silver onto polished parallel ends of a small cylinder from synthetic ruby, made according to a special
design by the Union Carbide Company, and placed it into a spiral tube, generating bright light flashes. On May 16, 1960, a bright ray of light was released from this simple, fine and compact device. From this event, recorded in Maiman's working notebook, the mankind started a real breakthrough into the laser era.
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