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The May 16, 1960, the 32-year-old American engineer Theodore Harold Maiman lit up the first laser beam in history made with pink ruby crystal pumped by a flash lamp at Hughes Research Laboratories in California (USA).
Years later, George Lucas popularized this technology in fiction as the main weapon of the Jedi Knights in Star Wars.
The laser uses the fundamentals that Albert Einstein developed in 1916 based on the concepts of spontaneous and induced radiation emission by which a photon, or particle of light, causes an excited atom to emit an identical photon.
These theories were not put into practice until 1954, when the American physicist Charles H. Townes together with students tutored by himself at Columbia University developed the first maser.
The maser worked on the same physical principles as the laser, but it was unable to emit light continuously until the invention of the Maiman device.
Basic structure of a laser
The basic structure of a laser is composed of three main elements to be able to function. A resonant optical cavity which serves to keep the light circulating in the active medium the greatest number of times.
The active medium which is the material where optical amplification occurs. By last, pumping which is essential so that the active medium can amplify the radiation by exciting its electronic levels.
After the first laser beam in 1960, the development of this gadget has been unstoppable and has been worth 10 Nobel Laureates in Physics to those who have contributed to its development in any way.
Today found in barcode readers, in the reading devices of CD's or DVD's or in medical devices that correct myopia or kill some cancers.