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Happy birthday laser! The story so far

On 16 May, the International Day of Light is being celebrated. This date is in no way accidental and concerns us directly as it is the anniversary of the invention of the laser, in 1960, by physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman. We want to celebrate this incredible tool by retracing the main stages of its development.

Laser is a fascinating technology. As often science teaches us, the stages of this incredible invention were numerous and involved many scientists, which gave rise to disputes and problems involving the author of the invention:

1917. The origins
Albert Einstein theorised that systems of excited atoms or molecules could be stimulated through a suitable interaction with electromagnetic radiation. The purpose of this system was the production of further radiation, in this way amplifying the radiation originally sent to the system.

The fifties. From maser to laser
The concept of stimulated emission remained primarily of theoretical interest until the beginning of the fifties, when the first masers were made. The maser is a device that amplifies, by stimulated emission, the vibrations of a system of molecules to release energy in the form of light and heat.
The first masers, described and developed between 1952 and 1960, were able to emit radiation in the form microwaves, from which the first two letters of the acronym (Microwave Amplifier) were derived.

Charles Townes with Arthur L. Schawlow then described the principle of the optical maser, or laser, operated in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman. Infact, on 16th May, 1960, at the Hughes Research laboratories in Malibu, California, Maiman operated for the first time a solid-state laser that used a ruby crystal to produce a red laser beam with a wavelength of 694 nm.

1964 Nobel-winning laser
In 1964 Nikolaj Basov and Aleksandr Prokhorov, together with Charles Townes, won the Nobel prize for physics for “fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle”.

1999-2022. The birth of a venture called ML Engraving
There is still a lot to say about subsequent developments, but with a leap in time worthy of a film, we come to 1999 when 2 guys from Clusone began a start-up to use lasers for making moulds.
This company today has 65 employees and 20 of those lasers, which have become increasingly evolved, better performing and ever more fascinating.

Long live the laser!

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