Lecture 5 - Applications of lasers

From the lecture programme:

Pulsed lasers possess the required attributes to enable us to follow the course of chemical events that take place in less than a millionth of a millionth of a second. Moreover, because of its high purity of colour, laser light can be exploited chemically, and medically, selectively to excite atoms that are single isotopes in complex mixtures. This is the basis of powerful methods of separation. The scattering of laser light can also be turned to advantage in measuring the size of molecular entities. Intense pencils of laser light can be used remotely to sense pollutants in the atmosphere. The coherence of laser light gives rise to holography and a display of holograms of widely different types will be presented.

Lasers are used in telecommunications, and we will show the passage of laser light down an exceptionally long fibre without loss of intensity. Advantage is taken of such fibre optics to sense pressure and temperature changes, and to make a laser gyroscope of potential value in inertial navigation.

Lasers, it has to be recognised, also have military applications, and some of these will be outlined.






John Meurig Thomas and David Phillips



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