CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
World's first working laser. Computer artwork showing the structure of the first working laser, invented by Theodore Harold Maiman (1927-2007). Maiman built the first working laser in 1960. It was a solid-state laser that used 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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