Diffraction : coherence in optics by M Françon

By M Françon

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However, it is not the glass or crystal itself that radiates light, but rather the metal ions that are artificially included in the crystalline or glassy matrix. Those metal ions are derived from either the so-called transition metals (chromium or titanium for example), or rare earths (such as neodymium or ytterbium), which contrary to what their name suggests, are pretty common. It is with this type of gain medium that lasing was obtained for the first time in 1960. The crystal was then ruby, which is alumina crystal containing chromium ions that give the famous red color (and the laser effect).

We see from the top of the picture, the pipe for circulating the red dye solution from a reservoir. These dyes excited by the argon laser emit a yellow-orange beam that can be seen in the picture (Copyright CNRS Phototh`eque/Serge Equilbey, Laboratoire Charles Fabry, Institut d’Optique Graduate School). mirrors. Pumping is however a whole different ball game: the dye molecules in dilute alcohol are not able to properly conduct electric current, and therefore one cannot use electricity to excite molecules, unlike gas lasers.

Page 10 September 30, 2014 11:50 Laser: 50 Years of Discoveries 9in x 6in What is a Laser? 9: Conversion of an optical amplifier into an oscillator (laser): a set of mirrors sends the light at the output of the amplifier back to the input. To get an optical feedback loop in a laser, the light is sent back to the amplifying medium by a set of mirrors. A phase condition must be fulfilled at each pass of the light wave through the gain medium in order to actually amplify the light circulating in the laser.

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