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The idea for the laser started as long ago as 1905 when Albert Einstein suggested the simulated emission of light Light sources ie candles florescent substances torches and light bulbs give of packets of energy called photons when their atoms are excited by energy Einstein suggested that these atoms could be artificially stimulated to emit photons where the light produced would be highly concentrated bright and powerful and could be used for many tasks Even though Einstein new the principals for building a laser it was not attempted until later because it would be to expensive and difficult at that time since the advanced machinery that was needed did not exist yet It was not until the 1950s where the stage was set to build a laser Charles Townes a scientist wanted to see if microwaves which are very similar to light might be stimulated to produce an amplified beam by the process that Albert Einstein described Townes was successful in 1954 when he constructed what he called the maser microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation The maser amplifies the number of photons that cause microwaves After the invention of the maser many scientists became interested in the idea of building an optical maser which soon received the name laser light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation Townes paired with Arthur Schawlow two Soviets Nikolai Basov and Aleksander Prokhorov as well as Gordon Gould were all interested in developing a light-amplifying device All of them knew that there were three essential ingredients in making a laser a florescent material that would emit light when stimulated by radiation from an external energy source two facing mirrors on the sides of the florescent material and external energy source Theodore Maiman was the first to successfully assemble an optical laser In 1960 Maiman produced the ruby laser In it a strobe lamp is coiled around the core a rod of ruby that has
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