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Author Topic: Can a laser be any spectrum of light?  (Read 5436 times)

Offline thedoc

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« on: 15/06/2010 17:44:11 »
Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
Asked by Klv8r, via Twitter
            
« Last Edit: 15/06/2010 17:55:13 by BenV »


 

Offline thedoc

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Re: Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2010 17:44:11 »
We discussed this question in the 50 Years of Lasers show on the 13th of June...

We put this question to Dr Graeme Hirst, from the STFC's Central Laser Facility...

Graeme -  These days they can, yes. The very first laser that was produced worked in the near infrared. It was really, really bright, so you could probably see it, but only just about. Gradually, as time went on, more and more lasers were developed with a wider range of available colours Ė a wider range of available wavelengths. And these days, the range is spectacular. Just last year, a group of scientists in America demonstrated a really high power laser thatís actually working in the x-ray region.

Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, listen to the answer now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 17/06/2010 10:25:01 by BenV »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2010 17:52:03 »
I thought the first laser was a ruby laser emitting 694.3nm which is visible red light.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #3 on: 16/06/2010 07:06:38 »
I still think the first laser was a ruby laser emitting 694.3nm which is visible red light.
 

Offline tommya300

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #4 on: 16/06/2010 11:35:58 »
I still think the first laser was a ruby laser emitting 694.3nm which is visible red light.

Quote
"These days they can, yes. The very first laser that was produced worked in the near infrared."
You are correct and you validated the Dr. statement  694.3nm is near (780-3,000 nm)infrared portion of the spectrum.
I looked it up on the net.
So what is your point?
 

Offline imatfaal

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #5 on: 16/06/2010 12:02:47 »
Tommy

"the near infrared" is the portion of the infrared that is near the visible NOT the portion of the visible that is near the infrared.  BC has a valid point

- near infrared (infrared A) is 750-1400 nm and is not visible.
- the light from a artificial ruby laser is (per BC) 694 nm and in the red portion of the visible spectrum.

Matthew
 

Offline tommya300

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #6 on: 16/06/2010 15:23:43 »
Tommy

"the near infrared" is the portion of the infrared that is near the visible NOT the portion of the visible that is near the infrared.  BC has a valid point

- near infrared (infrared A) is 750-1400 nm and is not visible.
- the light from a artificial ruby laser is (per BC) 694 nm and in the red portion of the visible spectrum.

Matthew

Matthew I am a bit confused here... but not any more... I am looking at everything in layman's terms and I am learning

Because near infrared was not capitalize, I looked at it as a position close to,
Not as a noun Near Infrared labling the entity.
With this in mind, looking below, you can clearly see my thought process.

Am I reading the chart incorrectly?
Rounding out 694 ---> 700nm is in the red which is near or closer
to the upper portion to the scale into the infrared that is described as being less than 1000nm



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color

Hear is different chart listing
 
IR-A: 700 nm–1400 nm (0,7 µm – 1.4 µm) ----> I think I see 694nm is close enough to say it is near 700nm
IR-B: 1400 nm–3000 nm (1.4 µm – 3 µm)
IR-C: 3000 nm–1 mm (3 µm – 1000 µm)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared

Really, am scratching my head, it was mentioned the laser light was border line visible...
They, the wavelength, are both numerically neighboring the border of each others scale

SPECTRAL REGION  WAVELENGTH RANGE
(microns) TEMPERATURE RANGE
(degrees Kelvin)  WHAT WE SEE 
Near-Infrared  (0.7-1) to 5  740 to (3,000-5,200)  Cooler red stars
Red giants
Dust is transparent
 
Mid-Infrared  5 to (25-40)  (92.5-140) to 740  Planets, comets and asteroids
Dust warmed by starlight
Protoplanetary disks
 
Far-Infrared  (25-40) to (200-350)  (10.6-18.5) to (92.5-140)  Emission from cold dust
Central regions of galaxies
Very cold molecular clouds 





« Last Edit: 16/06/2010 17:33:42 by tommya300 »
 

Offline LeeE

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #7 on: 16/06/2010 17:34:58 »
Hmm...  using the quote button for the Doc doesn't seem to work, but anyway...

Quote
Just last year, a group of scientists in America demonstrated a really high power laser thatís actually working in the x-ray region.

The x-ray lasers planned for the now defunct SDI were going to be rather powerful, what with being powered by a nuclear bomb.  I gather that the only test that was carried out was inconclusive though.

Did Dr. Hirst mention anything about gamma ray lasers?  I believe there's some speculation that these may be possible.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #8 on: 16/06/2010 20:08:37 »
Tommya,
There's a big difference between "in the near infrared" and "near the infrared".

In neither case is the word "near" a noun and most nouns are not given capital letters in English anyway.

The point is that, if I'm right about the first laser being a ruby laser then it's plain visible red light.
This "It was really, really bright, so you could probably see it, but only just about. "makes no sense if the first laser was a ruby laser.

If the first laser wasn't a ruby laser then I'd really like to know what it was.
There were masers before lasers, so there might have been some weird "not strictly L or M" ASER that worked in the IR.
I guess it would be an ISER.
 

Offline tommya300

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #9 on: 16/06/2010 23:26:00 »
Tommya,
There's a big difference between "in the near infrared" and "near the infrared".

In neither case is the word "near" a noun and most nouns are not given capital letters in English anyway.

The point is that, if I'm right about the first laser being a ruby laser then it's plain visible red light.
This "It was really, really bright, so you could probably see it, but only just about. "makes no sense if the first laser was a ruby laser.

If the first laser wasn't a ruby laser then I'd really like to know what it was.
There were masers before lasers, so there might have been some weird "not strictly L or M" ASER that worked in the IR.
I guess it would be an ISER.


got it!
 ok
 

Offline imatfaal

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #10 on: 17/06/2010 11:57:36 »
BC and Tommy

Here is a video of the Ted Maiman's first laser being redemonstrated - personally I cannot see the red dot amongst the white that they comment on in the video.  But, from the context it is quite clear that those in the audience and the presenter can see the red dot - therefore it is visible light.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wMBi3E8l8A

Matthew
 

Offline techmind

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #11 on: 19/06/2010 00:22:23 »
The eye can sense 695nm, but it is very insensitive to it - something like only 1% of the sensitivity that you would get at 620nm which is a bright slightly orangey red.

So to a fair extent it is true to say that you'd see it but that it needs to be quite bright.

See also my webpage at: http://www.techmind.org/colour/


There isn't a distinct cutoff between deep red and infra-red, although there may be wavelengths defined by convention.
At 760nm the eye is about 1/100th as sensitive as at 700nm, so it is reasonable to define anything much beyond that as invisible IR.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #12 on: 19/06/2010 16:02:15 »
I checked before I posted and I can assure you that I can see light at 694nM.
I used an ordinary desk lamp and a monochromator. It's not all that bright but it is still perfectly visible.
 

Offline SeanB

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #13 on: 19/06/2010 16:20:08 »
I had a colleague who worked with ruby lasers, and the beam, while not bright to the eyes, really had high power, enough to burn though photo paper with every pulse.

Laser theory does not disallow any colour, just requiring electrons that are excited and can drop to a lower energy by emitting light, in a medium that will allow lasing to occur. This means you can now get a laser that provides output in almost any colour from microwaves to x rays, though you need a good many units to cover the band, and many are low power devices or only work once as they are destroyed by the emission ( X ray lasers) or can only operate in pulsed mode.

 

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Can a laser be any spectrum of light?
« Reply #13 on: 19/06/2010 16:20:08 »

 

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