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,
not 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 and
a group of American scientists. The material they used for a concentrator
was a man- made ruby. It 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,
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, ect. 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 lasers. 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 fibre optics, that 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