Laser Basics

  • C. Hirlimann


Lasers are the basic building block of the technologies for the generation of short light pulses. Only two decades after the laser had been invented, the duration of the shortest produced pulse had shrunk down six orders of magnitude, going from the nanosecond regime to the femtosecond regime. “Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” is the misleading meaning of the word “laser”. The real instrument is not only an amplifier but also a resonant optical cavity implementing a positive feedback between the emitted light and the amplifying medium. A laser also needs to be fed with energy of some sort.


Spontaneous Emission Laser Cavity Round Trip Saturable Absorber Gain Medium 
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Further Reading

  1. W. Koechner: Solid-State Laser Engineering, 4th edn., Springer Ser. Opt. Sci., Vol. 1 ( Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1996 )Google Scholar
  2. J.R. Lalanne, S. Kielich, A. Ducasse: Laser-Molecule Interaction and Molecular Nonlinear Optics ( Wiley, New York 1996 )Google Scholar
  3. B. Saleh, M. Teich: Fundamentals of Photonics ( Wiley, New York 1991 )CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. K. Shimoda: Introduction to Laser Physics, 2nd edn., Springer Ser. Opt. Sci., Vol. 44 ( Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1991 )Google Scholar
  5. A.E. Siegman: Lasers (University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA 1986) O. Svelto: Principles of Lasers, 3rd edn. (Plenum Press, New York 1989 ) J.T. Verdeyen: Laser Electronics ( Prentice Hall, New Jersey 1989 )Google Scholar
  6. A. Yariv: Quantum Electronics, 3rd edn. ( Wiley, New York 1989 )Google Scholar

Historical References

  1. [1.1]
    J.P. Gordon, H.J. Zeiger, C.H. Townes: Phys. Rev. 99, 1264 (1955)Google Scholar
  2. [1.2]
    A.L. Schawlow, C.H. Townes: Phys. Rev. 112, 1940 (1958)Google Scholar
  3. [1.3]
    N.G. Basov, A.M. Prokhorov: Sov. Phys.-JETP 1, 184 (1955)Google Scholar
  4. [1.4]
    G.A. Deschamps, P.E. Mast: Proc. Symposium on Quasi-Optics, ed. J. Fox (Brooklyn Polytechnic Press, New York 1964); P. Laures: Appl. Optics 6, 747 (1967)Google Scholar
  5. [1.5]
    H. Kogelnik, T. Li: Appl. Optics 5, 1550 (1966)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [1.6]
    T.H. Maiman: Nature 187, 493 (1960)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Hirlimann

There are no affiliations available

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