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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Adjusting the maser

Adjusting the helium neon laser

Laser patent application

The laser patent

The micron carbon dioxide laser

Targeting forward looking infrared pod

MTS-A

MTS-B

Laser operations calibration lab

Laser solder

Range test

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."

Caption by / Photo by Bell Labs
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.
Caption by / Photo by Bell Labs

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.

Caption by / Photo by Bell Labs
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.
Caption by / Photo by Bell Labs
Bell Labs researcher C.K.N. Patel is seen here in 1964 with his creation, the 10.6-micron carbon dioxide laser.
Caption by / Photo by Bell Labs
A look at the targeting forward-looking infrared pod, from Raytheon.
Caption by / Photo by Raytheon
A MTS-A multispectral targeting system from Raytheon.
Caption by / Photo by Raytheon
A MTS-B multispectral targeting system from Raytheon.
Caption by / Photo by Raytheon
This is a Raytheon laser operations calibration lab located in El Segundo, Calif.
Caption by / Photo by Raytheon
Seen here, from the Raytheon advanced product center in Dallas, Texas, is a laser etching machine.
Caption by / Photo by Raytheon
At a laser test firing range, Raytheon tests its DAS-2 FLIR targeting pod.
Caption by / Photo by Raytheon
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