Adjusting the maser

In 1958, Bell Labs researchers Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow, having not yet made a laser, applied for a patent based on a paper they'd written on the subject. They had written in the December 1958 issue of the journal Physical Review that it was possible to extend the principles of the "maser" to the optical regions of the spectrum. They received U.S. patent number 2,929,922 in 1960, the same year that Theodore Maiman at Hughes Aircraft built the world's first actual laser.

The laser turns 50 on May 16.

In this image, likely from 1958, Schawlow works on a ruby optical maser during an experiment. At the same time, C.G.B. Garrett gets ready to photograph the flash of the maser.

A maser stands for "microwave amplification by stimulation emission of radiation," according to Stanford's Gravity Probe B program. "A laser is a maser that works with higher frequency photons in the ultraviolet or visible light spectrum."

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Photo by: Bell Labs / Caption by:

Adjusting the helium neon laser

In this image, taken in 1960, Bell Labs researchers Ali Javan, William Bennett, and Donald Herriott work on their helium neon laser, the world's first laser that was capable of generating a continual light beam at 1.15 microns. The laser was also the first of its kind, an electrical discharge pumped gas laser.
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Photo by: Bell Labs / Caption by:

Laser patent application

This is the patent application that eventually resulted in Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow receiving U.S. patent number 2,929,922 in 1960, the same year that Theodore Maiman at Hughes Aircraft built the world's first actual laser.

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Photo by: Bell Labs / Caption by:

The laser patent

U.S. patent number 2,929,922, granted to Bell Labs researchers Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow, was granted for their theoretical invention of the laser. The patent was issued the same year as Hughes Aircraft's Theodore Maiman built the world's first laser.
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Photo by: Bell Labs / Caption by:

The micron carbon dioxide laser

Bell Labs researcher C.K.N. Patel is seen here in 1964 with his creation, the 10.6-micron carbon dioxide laser.
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Photo by: Bell Labs / Caption by:

Targeting forward looking infrared pod

A look at the targeting forward-looking infrared pod, from Raytheon.
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Photo by: Raytheon / Caption by:

MTS-A

A MTS-A multispectral targeting system from Raytheon.
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Photo by: Raytheon / Caption by:

MTS-B

A MTS-B multispectral targeting system from Raytheon.
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Photo by: Raytheon / Caption by:

Laser operations calibration lab

This is a Raytheon laser operations calibration lab located in El Segundo, Calif.
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Photo by: Raytheon / Caption by:

Laser solder

Seen here, from the Raytheon advanced product center in Dallas, Texas, is a laser etching machine.
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Photo by: Raytheon / Caption by:

Range test

At a laser test firing range, Raytheon tests its DAS-2 FLIR targeting pod.
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Photo by: Raytheon / Caption by:
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