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There are three schematic figures showing the construction of a laser. The first figure shows two mirrors. One is a totally silvered mirror on left side and one partially silvered mirror on right side. Thus spontaneous emission begins with some photons escaping and others stimulating further emissions. The next figure shows an increase in stimulated emission by reflection of photons by mirrors. The final figure shows an increased number of stimulated photons escaping the partially silvered mirror on the right side.
Typical laser construction has a method of pumping energy into the lasing material to produce a population inversion. (a) Spontaneous emission begins with some photons escaping and others stimulating further emissions. (b) and (c) Mirrors are used to enhance the probability of stimulated emission by passing photons through the material several times.

Lasers are constructed from many types of lasing materials, including gases, liquids, solids, and semiconductors. But all lasers are based on the existence of a metastable state or a phosphorescent material. Some lasers produce continuous output; others are pulsed in bursts as brief as 10 14 s size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{ - "14"} } " s"} {} . Some laser outputs are fantastically powerful—some greater than 10 12 W size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{"12"} } " W"} {} —but the more common, everyday lasers produce something on the order of 10 3 W size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{ - 3} } " W"} {} . The helium-neon laser that produces a familiar red light is very common. [link] shows the energy levels of helium and neon, a pair of noble gases that work well together. An electrical discharge is passed through a helium-neon gas mixture in which the number of atoms of helium is ten times that of neon. The first excited state of helium is metastable and, thus, stores energy. This energy is easily transferred by collision to neon atoms, because they have an excited state at nearly the same energy as that in helium. That state in neon is also metastable, and this is the one that produces the laser output. (The most likely transition is to the nearby state, producing 1.96 eV photons, which have a wavelength of 633 nm and appear red.) A population inversion can be produced in neon, because there are so many more helium atoms and these put energy into the neon. Helium-neon lasers often have continuous output, because the population inversion can be maintained even while lasing occurs. Probably the most common lasers in use today, including the common laser pointer, are semiconductor or diode lasers, made of silicon. Here, energy is pumped into the material by passing a current in the device to excite the electrons. Special coatings on the ends and fine cleavings of the semiconductor material allow light to bounce back and forth and a tiny fraction to emerge as laser light. Diode lasers can usually run continually and produce outputs in the milliwatt range.

On the left side of the figure, the ground state and first metastable state of helium atom are shown, and on the right side, the ground state and first metastable state of neon atom are shown. The difference between the two states of helium and neon atoms are estimated to be twenty point six one electron volts and twenty point six six electron volts, respectively. The collision transfer energy from helium to neon atoms is given as one point nine six electron volts.
Energy levels in helium and neon. In the common helium-neon laser, an electrical discharge pumps energy into the metastable states of both atoms. The gas mixture has about ten times more helium atoms than neon atoms. Excited helium atoms easily de-excite by transferring energy to neon in a collision. A population inversion in neon is achieved, allowing lasing by the neon to occur.

There are many medical applications of lasers. Lasers have the advantage that they can be focused to a small spot. They also have a well-defined wavelength. Many types of lasers are available today that provide wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the infrared. This is important, as one needs to be able to select a wavelength that will be preferentially absorbed by the material of interest. Objects appear a certain color because they absorb all other visible colors incident upon them. What wavelengths are absorbed depends upon the energy spacing between electron orbitals in that molecule. Unlike the hydrogen atom, biological molecules are complex and have a variety of absorption wavelengths or lines. But these can be determined and used in the selection of a laser with the appropriate wavelength. Water is transparent to the visible spectrum but will absorb light in the UV and IR regions. Blood (hemoglobin) strongly reflects red but absorbs most strongly in the UV.

Questions & Answers

a perfect square v²+2v+_
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algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
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Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
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f(n)= 2n + 1
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
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the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
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Source:  OpenStax, College physics -- hlca 1104. OpenStax CNX. May 18, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11525/1.1
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