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Understanding Lasers: An Entry-Level Guide, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-08890-6
496 pages
June 2008, ©2008, Wiley-IEEE Press
Understanding Lasers: An Entry-Level Guide, 3rd Edition (0470088907) cover image

Description

Updated to reflect advancements since the publication of the previous edition, Understanding Lasers: An Entry-Level Guide, 3rd Edition is an introduction to lasers and associated equipment. You need only a minimal background in algebra to understand the nontechnical language in this book, which is a practical, easy-to-follow guide for beginners. By studying the conceptual drawings, tables, and multiple-choice quizzes with answers provided at the back of the book you can understand applications of semiconductor lasers, solid-state lasers, and gas lasers for information processing, medicine, communications, industry, and military systems.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Overview 1

1.1 The Idea of the Laser 1

1.2 What is a Laser? 3

1.3 Laser Materials and Types 7

1.4 Optical Properties of Laser Light 10

1.5 How Lasers are Used 15

1.6 What Have We Learned? 17

CHAPTER 2 Physical Basics 21

2.1 Electromagnetic Waves and Photons 21

2.2 Quantum and Classical Physics 29

2.3 Interactions of Light and Matter 41

2.4 Basic Optics and Simple Lenses 49

2.5 What Have We Learned? 55

CHAPTER 3 How Lasers Work 59

3.1 Building a Laser 59

3.2 Producing a Population Inversion 60

3.3 Resonant Cavities 66

3.4 Laser Beams and Resonance 73

3.5 Wavelength Selection and Tuning 81

3.6 Laser Excitation Techniques 84

3.7 What Have We Learned? 88

CHAPTER 4 Laser Characteristics 93

4.1 Coherence 93

4.2 Laser Wavelengths 96

4.3 Behavior of Laser Beams 101

4.4 Laser Power 105

4.5 Laser Efficiency 108

4.6 Duration of Emission 113

4.7 Polarization 117

4.8 What Have We Learned? 119

CHAPTER 5 Optics and Laser Accessories 125

5.1 Classical Optical Devices 125

5.2 Transparent Optical Materials 136

5.3 Optical Surfaces, Coatings and Filters 137

5.4 Nonlinear Optics 141

5.5 Beam Intensity and Pulse Control 145

5.6 Beam Direction and Propagation 151

5.7 Mounting and Positioning Equipment 153

5.8 Optical Measurement 155

5.9 What Have We Learned? 157

CHAPTER 6 Types of Lasers 161

6.1 Laser Oscillators and Optical Amplifiers 161

6.2 Laser Media 166

6.3 The Importance of Gain 173

6.4 Broadband and Wavelength-Tunable Lasers 175

6.5 Laser-Like Light Sources 178

6.6 What Have We Learned? 180

CHAPTER 7 Gas Lasers 185

7.1 The Gas Laser Family 185

7.2 Gas-Laser Basics 186

7.3 Helium-Neon Lasers 193

7.4 Argon- and Krypton-Ion Lasers 197

7.5 Metal-Vapor Lasers 200

7.6 Carbon Dioxide Laser 203

7.7 Excimer Lasers 208

7.8 Chemical Lasers 212

7.9 Other Gas Lasers 215

7.10 What Have We Learned? 216

CHAPTER 8 Solid-State and Fiber Lasers 223

8.1 What is a Solid-State Laser? 223

8.2 Solid-State Laser Materials 225

8.3 Optical Pumping 230

8.4 Ruby Lasers 234

8.5 Neodymium Lasers 237

8.6 Vibronic and Tunable Solid-State Lasers 243

8.7 Erbium and Other Eye-Safe Lasers 249

8.8 Rare-Earth-Doped Fiber Lasers 250

8.9 Rare-Earth-Doped Fiber Amplifiers 256

8.10 Raman Fiber Lasers and Amplifiers 258

8.11 What Have We Learned? 259

CHAPTER 9 Semiconductor Diode Lasers 265

9.1 Basics of Semiconductor Diode Lasers 265

9.2 Semiconductor Basics 267

9.3 Light Emission at Junctions 276

9.4 Layers and Confinement in Diode Lasers 281

9.5 Confinement in the Junction Plane 286

9.6 Edge-Emitting Diode Lasers 290

9.7 Surface-Emitting Diode Lasers 294

9.8 Quantum Wells and Dots 297

9.9 Quantum Cascade Lasers 298

9.10 Optical Properties of Diode Lasers 300

9.11 Diode Laser Materials and Wavelengths 302

9.12 Silicon Lasers 308

9.13 Packaging and Specialization of Diode Lasers 309

9.14 What Have We Learned? 312

CHAPTER 10 Other Lasers and Related Sources 317

10.1 Tunable Dye Lasers 317

10.2 Extreme-Ultraviolet Sources 323

10.3 Free-Electron Lasers 328

10.4 Silicon Lasers 332

10.5 What Have We Learned? 334

CHAPTER 11 Low-Power Laser Applications 339

11.1 Advantages of Laser Light 340

11.2 Reading with Lasers 341

11.3 Optical Disks and Data Storage 344

11.4 Laser Printing and Marking 347

11.5 Fiber-Optic Communications 350

11.6 Laser Measurement 355

11.7 Laser Pointers, Art, and Entertainment 359

11.8 Low-Power Defense Applications 361

11.9 Sensing and Spectroscopy 363

11.10 Holography 369

11.11 Other Low-Power Applications 372

11.12 What Have We Learned? 372

CHAPTER 12 High-Power Laser Applications 377

12.1 High- Versus Low-Power Laser Applications 377

12.2 Attractions of High-Power Lasers 378

12.3 Materials Working 379

12.4 Electronics Manufacturing 387

12.5 Three-Dimensional Modeling 389

12.6 Laser Medical Treatment 390

12.7 Photochemistry and Isotope Separation 398

12.8 Laser-Driven Nuclear Fusion 401

12.9 High-Energy Laser Weapons 403

12.10 Futuristic High-Power Laser Ideas 409

12.11 What Have We Learned? 410

CHAPTER 13 Lasers In Research 415

13.1 Lasers Open New Opportunities 415

13.2 Laser Spectroscopy 417

13.3 Manipulating Tiny Objects 421

13.4 Atom Lasers and Bose–Einstein Condensates 423

13.5 Slow Light 424

13.6 Nanoscale Lasers 425

13.7 Petawatt Lasers 426

13.8 Attosecond Pulses 428

13.9 Laser Acceleration 430

13.10 Other Emerging Research 430

13.11 What We Have Learned 433

Answers to Quiz Questions 437

Appendix A: Laser Safety 441

Appendix B: Handy Numbers and Formulas 447

Appendix C: Resources and Suggested Readings 451

Glossary 455

Index 467

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Author Information

Jeff Hecht is a science and technology writer who has covered the laser industry for more than thirty years. He cofounded Lasers & Optronics magazine and has been a contributing editor to Laser Focus World since 1991, where he was also managing editor for seven years. He has been a Boston correspondent for New Scientist magazine since 1984 and is the author of eleven books. He has taught short courses on optics at SPIE, OSA, and IEEE LEOS conferences. He is a member of the IEEE, APS, OSA, and the National Association of Science Writers.
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New to This Edition

Updated to reflect advancements in laser technology
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The Wiley Advantage

  • Written by a professional science writer to give readers an intuitive feel for lasers with a minimum of formal mathematics
  • Iillustrated with conceptual drawings and well-organized tables of information such as types of lasers, laser wavelengths, and detectors
  • Each chapter concludes with a multiple-choice quiz and the answers are provided at the end of the book
  • Key topics include: semiconductor lasers; solid-state lasers; gas lasers; and laser applications in information processing, medicine, communications, industry, and military systems.
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Reviews

"This book is an easy-to-follow guide that requires a minimal background in algebra. The use of simple language, drawings, tables and multiple-choice quizzes make this book an ideal text for advanced high school students, undergraduates studying physics and engineering, and professionals who work with lasers but lack a formal knowledge of the subject." (Optics & Photonic News, April 2009)

"College-level libraries strong in science and technology titles will appreciate this easy introduction guide to laser technology, which moves from the foundations of how lasers work and how they are used to discussions of specific advanced laser types, applications, and the science involved." (The Midwest Book Review, September 2008)

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