Many of us take the laser for granted, as it is able to do many things in the world around us. Not only does it provide us with the music and movies that we enjoy, it is also used in various aspects of machinery and tools which give us accuracy which was not available just a few short decades ago. Understanding a little bit about the history of lasers and laser diodes may enhance your appreciation for this rather common item that we now use. It has rather humble beginnings but since that time, it has really changed the way that we live our day-to-day lives.
In 1917, Albert Einstein came up with the idea for the laser in the theory of stimulated emission, which is what makes the laser light possible. Laser itself is an acronym that stands for light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation. It was quite a few years however, before the laser itself came into being. Before then, there was actually something that took place before it and that was an item that was known as a maser. Mazer stands for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Although it is very similar to the laser, it used microwave radiation and ammonia gas and it did not produce a visible light. The patent for the Mazer was granted in 1959 and its primary use was for a radio signal amplification and as a detector which was used for space research.
The ruby laser was developed in 1960 by a man named Theodore Maiman. This is what many people consider to be the first laser that was developed. It was after that that a man by the name of Gordon Gould developed the first light laser but, he was not able to successfully get a patent for the invention because he did not file for the patent in enough time. The technology itself was then available to be exploited and many people took advantage of this situation. In 1977, however, Gordon Gould finally did receive his patent for his work.
There were many other individuals who had a hand in the development of the laser along the way. Ali Javan, for example, made the first gas laser using helium neon in 1960. The first semiconductor injection laser was created in 1962 by Robert Hall. This is not simply something that was revolutionary at the time, but there are still many communications systems and appliances that use this type of laser on a daily basis. In 1964, the carbon dioxide laser was developed by Kumar Patel.
These are just a few of the stepping stones that were necessary in order to develop the common laser diode that is in use today. There are still developments that are taking place which will, no doubt, continue to change the way we do many things in our lives. Until that time, we can still enjoy the fact that we have the laser available, not only for personal use in our day-to-day lives but also for use in tools and many other beneficial items.