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Lasers

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The laser is one of the most advanced tools we have in our civilization. Lasers are powerful enough to cut through a thick piece of steel, yet can be used in medical surgery. Lasers are used in the army, for guns, for range finding and a whole lot more.



Most people don't know where the idea of the laser came from. The idea for the laser came from a machine called a maser. The maser was a tool that was able to strengthen, or amplify radio and light waves. The first laser was made in California in 1960. It was built by Theodore Maiman along with a group of American scientists. The material they used for a concentrator was a man- made ruby. This was done by, coiling a simple flash tube around a rod, and beaming powerful flashes of light at it. The result was pulses of red laser light. Once they made the device they had to name it. They had think of some word or words to described it. They came up with Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Using the first letter of each main word they named it laser. The laser had everyone excited.



The laser was put through many tests and experiments to see what it could do to help modern civilization. At first there weren't many uses for the laser. Then in the 1970's it became very important. It was finally being used in everyday life. As years went on the uses grew in number.

Today lasers were being used in a variety of ways. This includes entertainment, military, communication, businesses, measurement, cutting, and more.



Measurement: Lasers have become an important part of measurement. A laser is the fastest way to measure long distances. This use can be applied in construction work and astronomy.



Cutting: A laser is also great for cutting objects. It can get to those hard to reach places by the use of mirrors to bend the beam of light. It also is strong enough to cut through solid steel. A laser never damages the surface of the object because it never touches it. Lasers have been

used in both large and small surgical procedures. It is used by jewelers to cut diamonds, gold, silver, platinum, etc....It is also used in corporations in which cutting metal or fine cutting is involved.



Communication: The way the laser is used in the field of communication is through fiber optics. Fiber optics are glass rods in which a laser is shot through the rod, making pulses which are then changed into sound.



Entertainment: Lasers can also be used to entertain. They are used in rock concerts or alone as part of a show. Another form of entertainment that is made possible by the laser is the hologram. At first, holograms could only be made with a laser. Now we can make them with ordinary white light. Lasers also are used in art. Different color lasers are projected on a wall yielding a two dimensional hologram in which you can draw. Another use in the entertainment field is the Compact Disc. The CD uses lasers like fiber optics, which changes laser light into sound.



Businesses: The way businesses use lasers are in mass production. They use lasers to weld things together or to put holes or cuts into things. They also use laser scanners to check items. In a supermarket laser scanners are used to price items. Lasers also are used to protect businesses by placing laser sensors in security systems.



Military: Lasers play a very important role in the military. Unlike what is seen in science fiction movies where a laser gun could be used as a hand weapon, using today's technology lasers that powerful would have to be as big as the great pyramids in Egypt. Instead, we use them for range-finding devices or guiding weapons or missiles. An example of a range finding device is a special kind of binoculars that sends out a laser beam and then reads the laser beam that bounces back to know far they are away. A laser guided missile is used in fighter planes so they almost never miss their targets. Laser research is moving to making lasers even more powerful. Hopefully these more powerful lasers can be used to stop missile attacks.



The trade off for all the good things that lasers can do is the fact that they can be applied to weapons of war. Their use in medicine, communications and other areas out weighs the potential for war uses.



The next step in laser technology could the molecular particle laser and receiving device. This would allow the transport of matter, such as a human, across a laser beam. This would eliminate the pollution caused by our present modes of transportation.



Lasers are very important and are becoming more and more advanced. Scientist are still trying to find new ways to harness the power of the laser.





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