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Lasers

A laser is a device that produces a special type of light: all the laser photons are identical! They all have the same wavelength (and frequency), amplitude and phase. Since they all have the same wavelength, this means they all have the same colour and the light is called monochromatic . ( Note: mono means "one" or "single" and chromatic means "colour".) This is very different to most other light sources which produce light with a range of wavelengths (e.g. white light from the sun consists of all the visible wavelengths.)

Laser light is highly directional and can be focused very well. This focus allows laser beams to be used over long distances, and to pack a lot of energy into the beam while still requiring reasonably small amounts of energy to be generated. Each centimetre of a typical laser beam contains many billions of photons. These special properties of laser light come from the way in which the laser photons are created and the energy levels of the material that makes up the laser. These properties make laser light extremely useful in many applications from CD players to eye surgery.

The term LASER stands for L ight A mplification by the S timulated E mission of R adiation. This stimulated emission is different to the spontaneous emission already discussed earlier. Let's review the absorption and emission processes which can occur in atoms.

  • Absorption : As you can see in the picture above, absorption happens when an electron jumps up to a higher energy level by absorbing a photon which has an energy equal to the energy difference between the two energy levels.
  • Spontaneous emission : Spontaneous emission is when an electron in a higher energy level drops down to a lower energy level and a photon is emitted with an energy equal to the energy difference between the two levels. There is no interference in this process from outside factors. Usually spontaneous emission happens very quickly after an electron gets into an excited state. In other words, the lifetime of the excited state is very short (the electron only stays in the high energy level for a very short time). However, there are some excited states where an electron can remain in the higher energy level for a longer time than usual before dropping down to a lower level. These excited states are called metastable states.
  • Stimulated emission : As the picture above shows, stimulated emission happens when a photon with an energy equal to the energy difference between two levels interacts with an electron in the higher level. This stimulates the electron to emit an identical photon and drop down to the lower energy level. This process results in two photons at the end.
Spontaneous Emission

Spontaneous emission occurs when an atom is in an unstable excited state and randomly decays to a less energetic state, emitting a photon to carry off the excess energy. The unstable state decays in a characteristic time, called the lifetime.

Meta-stable state

A meta-stable state is an excited atomic state that has an unusually long lifetime, compared to the lifetimes of other excited states of that atom. While most excited states have lifetimes measured in microseconds and nanoseconds ( 10 - 6 s and 10 - 9 s), meta-stable states can have lifetimes of milliseconds ( 10 - 3 s) or even seconds.

Questions & Answers

an object will remain at rest or move at a constant velocity unless acted upon a net force
Lebogang Reply
thank you
Thabiso
law of inertia
Joan
an object resisting the change in velocity.
Thabiso
What is a molecule
Thabiso Reply
a molecule is a simplest structure unite of an elements
Else
thank you
Thabiso
Plz remind me the 1st Newton's law
Thabiso
Define the term functinal group of an organic compound
Kamvelihle Reply
a single atom or a group of atoms which is responsible for the property and function of an organic compound
Shandre
thanks😊
Kamvelihle
What's the relationship between intensity and the current?
Lufuno Reply
yu are Spi.ke spanish hola ele
Rolamf
cómo se llama el video donde disquete salgo yo
Rolamf
The intensity doesn't effect the current.
Mosa
what does the word emitted mean?
Mwinga Reply
to be ejected or released
Khathutshelo
Ok thanks
Mwinga
Released
Mosa
what are the hooke laws
Tyriek Reply
what's that
Mosa
what do really asked in exam
Leiyo Reply
questions
Kamvelihle
lmaooo
itsssjust
hi please help me how to balance redox reactions?
Brian Reply
Which equation do u wanna balance
Rifumo
i tried to write it but my phone just can't write it Cr2 O72-(aq) + H2S (aq) Cr3 (aq) + S(s)
Brian
show is the equation
Pride
us
Pride
hello. what is the difference between a primary, secondary and tertiary alcohol
Thokozani Reply
primary the C=bonded to 1 Carbon atom.... secondary=bonded to 2 carbon atoms tertiary=bonded to 3 carbon atoms
Christina
I hope you're answered
Christina
thanks Christina
Baningi
My pleasure
Christina
Thank you Christina. This is very helpful 😀👍👍💯
Thokozani
💯💯
Thokozani
Anytime Thokozani
Christina
How to calculate pH?
Thabo
thank you guys i didn't know about the primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols
Brian
thank you Christina
Brian
Hey guys which topic does AC nd DC generator falls
Phumelele
electrodynamics
Christina
thank you
Phumelele
can somebody help me with functional isomers
Baningi Reply
function isomer has the same molecular formula but different functional group
Thokozani
what's momentum
Luvelo Reply
the product of an objects mass times velocity. it is mainly prevalent in collisions.
tyrique
momentum
Sesethu
in order to produce an interference pattern, the waves used must be what?
Methane contains C and H. This compound is
Juan Reply
ketones's functional group
Moloi Reply
Why does the carboxyl group have acidc properties?
Evi Reply
carboxylic acids
tyrique
Besides improving appearance what is another reason why medal is electro plated
Elizabeth Reply
it is made of metal
Reunity
thanks
Elizabeth
what is different between Dependent variable and independent variables
Elizabeth
difference between A.c and D.c
Gerrard
AC has slip rings DC has split rings commutator
Mohludi
to avoid rust and to improve strength and conductivity
Shubham
the variable whose value doesn't depend on other is known as independent variable ex time
Shubham

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
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