RESOURCES: Making Light Coherent

Science  16 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5742, pp. 1795d
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5742.1795d

When laser experts talk about an upper-state lifetime, they aren't discussing how long people in Montana live. The term refers to how long atoms remain excited, as you can discover at The Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology, written by physicist Rüdiger Paschotta of RP Photonics Consulting in Zurich, Switzerland. The reference explains more than 400 concepts including laser physics, nonlinear optics, quantum effects, and related fields. For example, you can learn about so-called eye-safe lasers, which emit wavelengths of light that peter out before they reach the retina. The site, which assumes that readers have a basic physics background, also furnishes graphs, animations, and links to papers.

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