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World's first working laser, 1960

World's first working laser, 1960

T200/0044

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Credit

CORNING INC, EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CORNING INC, EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Editorial use only.

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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