Yes, that is a laser!

Just a few years ago, as part of an assignment to organize a spectroscopy conference on the California coast, I solicited contributions from local laser manufacturers to defray the cost of graduate student attendance and to enhance our social hours. Sponsors were invited to distribute sales literature in the back of the hall, but they were not supposed to do laser demos. So I was surprised to see people gathering around the Spectra-Physics sales re¥who was holding something smaller than a sh

Yes, that is a laser!

Heather W. Messenger

Executive Editor

Just a few years ago, as part of an assignment to organize a spectroscopy conference on the California coast, I solicited contributions from local laser manufacturers to defray the cost of graduate student attendance and to enhance our social hours. Sponsors were invited to distribute sales literature in the back of the hall, but they were not supposed to do laser demos. So I was surprised to see people gathering around the Spectra-Physics sales re¥who was holding something smaller than a shoe box in his hand. It was plugged into an ordinary 110-V wall socket, and a familiar-colored green light came out the end!

"What is that?" I asked.

"Our new diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser," he replied.

"But," I stammered, "that can`t be a laser! Besides, you`re not supposed to do product demos here."

"It`s a laser, all right, but it`s not really a product," he assured me. "We just put a doubling crystal in front to make the beam visible." Then he handed me some literature that introduced me to the world of diode-pumped solid-state lasers.

Obviously this new technology has garnered more than casual interest. In the seven or so years since I saw my first diode-pumped laser, many other manufacturers have jumped into this rapidly growing market. In our most recent forecast of laser markets (see Laser Focus World, Jan. 1996, p. 50), senior editor Steve Anderson estimated that several thousand diode-pumped solid-state lasers, worth in excess of $40 million, will be sold this year. High-power diode-pumped visible lasers are available now, too. These devices are touted as replacements for ion lasers, especially in scientific applications such as pumping Ti:sapphire lasers; an article on p. 63 explains the latest technology from Spectra-Physics Lasers.

The microlasers described on p. 73 offer another novel approach to laser design. Palm-sized, yet diode pumped, these lasers have potential--especially at visible and UV wavelengths--to be used in many applications.

Back to Basics is back

Detectors may be one of the most pervasive optoelectronic devices both in and out of the laboratory. This month, we begin another Back to Basics series with articles describing photodetectors and the myriad applications evolving around them. In the introduction on p. 95, physicist/writer Eric Lerner summarizes some detector applications; subsequent articles will categorize detectors by spectral region and device complexity and explain operating principles for various detectors.

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Thomas Baer, Biometric Imaging; Dirk Basting, Lambda Physik; Dan Botez, University of Wisconsin-Madison;

Phili¥Brierley, Pike Technologies; Jean Bulabois, Institute Polytechnique de Sevenans, France; H. John Caulfield, Alabama A&M in Normal; G. J. Dixon, CREOL; Thomas Giallorenzi, Naval Research Laboratory; David C. Hanna, Southampton University, England; Lewis M. Holmes, American Institute of Physics; Bruce S. Hudson, University of Oregon; Ralph R. Jacobs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Anthony Johnson, New Jersey Institute of

Technology; Chinlon Lin, Bellcore; Jan Melles, Photonics Investments, Duiven, the Netherlands; Gerard A. Mourou, University of Michigan; Masahiro Joe Nagasawa, TEM Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan; Dili¥K. Paul, Comsat Laboratories;

Harvey Pollicove, University of Rochester; Leonard E. Ravich, Boxford, MA; Ralph A. Rotolante, Vicon Infrared;

M. Ya. Schelev, General Physics Institute, Moscow, Russia; Robert R. Shannon, University of Arizona; James J. Snyder, Blue Sky Research; Orazio Svelto, Polytechnic Institute of Milan, Italy; Dinsheng Wang, Academia Sinica, Beijing, China; Colin E. Webb, Oxford University, England; Ahmed Zewail, California Institute of Technology;

Joseph van Zwaren, Ministry of Science & Technology, Israel.

More in Lasers & Sources