****Nerdy teachers will eat up this opening**** LASERS Buck Rogers steps off his rocket and is met by hostile aliens, which he must fend off with his ray gun. A policeman pulls over a speeding car and tickets the driver for speeding and operating under the influence. A doctor sends an optic wire down a blood capillary and destroys a clot in the patient's heart, saving preventing the tissue and patient from dying. A bomb is dropped from an altitude of three kilometres and strikes a target area the size of a sand box. A factory worker creates precision parts to go into the space shuttle. A child listens to Row, Row Your Boat on the CD deck. What do all of these things listed have in common with each other? They all involve LASERs.
LASERs (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) have become a growing part of our lives.
A policeman can use a LASER to track the speed of an automobile and then he can use one to determine the blood/alcohol level of a suspect. A doctor can use one to cut open muscle and the heat will cauterise the wound, which prevents blood loss during an operation. They are used in LASIK surgery to improve sight and for removing clots in the blood stream. They can guide a bomb to its target. They were even hinted at in H.G. Wells' classic novel, The War of the Worlds.
But what is a LASER? The first LASER was a ruby LASER or what is known as a "crystalline LASER" that consisted of a solid ruby crystal rod surrounded by a spiral flash tube (a lamp similar to what is used for indoor and high speed photography). It was enclosed within a polished aluminium cylindrical cavity cooled...