World's first working laser, 1960

World's first working laser, 1960

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This image is part of the feature 50 Years Of The Laser


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Caption: Maiman's first laser. Theodore Maiman (1927-2007) built the first working laser in 1960. The laser (shown dissembled here) is a solid-state laser that uses a synthetic ruby crystal to emit a beam of red light. It was first operated at Hughes Research Laboratories in California, USA, on 16th May 1960. Some thirty years later, after a long legal battle, key patents were awarded to Gordon Gould, another US physicist who had proposed key ideas on how to build lasers. Maiman's awards for his laser work included the Oliver E. Buckley Prize (1966).

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