Science Questions

Can all forms of radiation be used to make lasers?

Sun, 19th Feb 2012

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Question

Jesse Chubb, Facebook asked:

Can all forms of radiation actually be focused to make a laser?

Answer

Harry-   Most forms of electromagnetic radiation can be used to make some kind of laser source.  In fact, the first laser ever made was called a MASER.  It was Microwave Amplification Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  So it worked in the infrared.

Chris -   Could you, Nic, use other wavelengths with your technology if you needed to?

Nic -   Yes, absolutely.  You could most easily extend it to use either infrared or ultraviolet, and be our current device actually uses a liquid crystal cell to modulate it, itís very closely related to the COSMOS idea.  You just change the pitch of the liquid crystal cell to adapt it.

Chris -   Would that work with your technology then Philip, you could tune your thing up?  So even though you're currently using crystals with visible light, you could go into other regimes that we currently can't see if you needed to.

Philip -   Yes. With the liquid crystal approach, the "twist" I was talking about earlier, that can be used to reflect light of any wavelength.  In our particular system, we use organic dyes which emit and fluoresce in the visible spectrum.  So you'd have to change the light emitting component but the liquid crystal part certainly would work for other wavelength regimes as well.

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