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What Is A Laser?

I Always Wanted To Know:

What is a laser?


Lasers are a key component in everything from supermarket price scanners, DVD players, high speed fiber optic cables and advanced military weapons, but what is a laser? How does it work? The answer may surprise you.  A laser, (which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), is at its most fundamental level, just focused light.

Laser light is different from normal light due to its characteristic focused, intense beam and specific color (or wavelength in technical terms). The light is created, in basic terms, by pumping energy into atoms causing them to emit photons of light. These photons of light are then bounced between mirrors in the laser’s assembly, which causes more photons to be created amplifying the light beam. What makes this process special is that the new photons created share the shame wavelength, phase and polarization which gives lasers their unique characteristics.

All of this may be quite interesting but why is laser light useful?

Are lasers dangerous?

Recent incidents in the news of people using lasers to blind pilots in cockpits of helicopters may have left you wondering if a laser is a dangerous thing to own. Most consumer laser devices are safe, but all lasers sold in the U.S. have a safety ranking system which indicates the class of the laser.


Do you have a general technology or electronics question you always wanted to know like “How does a Microwave work?” or “Why do LED’s last so long?” Write me at Tim@WorldStart.com [1] and your question may be answered in an upcoming “I Always Wanted To Know.” For specific computer support questions ask our writers by clicking here [2].