Technology Focus


Many of us take the invention of the laser for granted. It is a technology that we have grown up with, and has always been a part of our everyday lives.

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Editorial

50th anniversary p279

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.102


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Business News

Laser celebrations p280

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.111


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Research Highlights

Milestones in laser development p281

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.103


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Profile

Making history pp282 - 283

Nadya Anscombe

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.104

The initial concept of the laser was pioneered at Bell Labs, as were many other technologies that are fundamental to the photonics industry. Nadya Anscombe finds out how the company has changed in recent years and what technologies are being researched at Bell Labs today.


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Industry Perspectives

The Nd:YAG laser: From a rod to a disk p285

Paul Seiler, Klaus Wallmeroth & Kurt Mann

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.105

The Nd:YAG was one of the first ever industrial lasers, and even today it still has many advantages over other laser technologies. Competition from newer laser technologies, however, has made its evolution critical to its survival.


The excimer laser: Precision engineering p286

Ralph Delmdahl

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.106

The excimer laser is synonymous with precision. Today it is enabling the production of integrated circuits and nextgeneration displays, as well as new breakthroughs in eye surgery.


The semiconductor laser: Enabling optical communication p287

Ed Murphy

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.107

The semiconductor laser has revolutionized the way the world communicates, and it is continuously evolving with our ever-increasing demand for higher bandwidths.


The Ti:Sapphire laser: The flexible research tool p289

Julien Klein & James D. Kafka

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.108

When the Ti:Sapphire laser was first invented, it took the research community by storm. Today, it has an important role in imaging, spectroscopy and many other applications.


The fibre laser: Delivering power p290

Bill Shiner

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.109

With its high wall-plug efficiency and record-breaking power output, the fibre laser has made the use of lasers in manufacturing more acceptable and cost-effective.


The quantum cascade laser: Ready for take-off p291

Antoine Müller & Jérôme Faist

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.110

Since their invention, quantum cascade lasers have made considerable progress in terms of their wavelength range and efficiency. Today, they have important applications in environmental science, process control and medical diagnostics.


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Product Highlights

Stacked arrays, direct green diodes and more p293

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.112


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Interview

Exciting times p294

doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.113

Nadya Anscombe talks to Charles Townes, Nobel Prize winner and inventor of the maser, the forerunner to the laser, to find out how the invention of the laser came about and how he struggled to convince people of its importance.


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