Lasers Essay, Research Paper
II. Science Research
a) Large Equipment
b) Computer Chips
c) Plastic and Cardboard
a) Eye Surgery
b) Plastic Surgery
c) General Surgery
a) Missile Guidance System
b) Laser Sights
c) Nuclear Warheads
Laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Lasers are devices that amplify light and produce consistent light beams that range from infrared to ultraviolet. There are many different types of lasers: solid state, gas, semiconductor, liquid, and free electron lasers.
There is only one restriction on a laser and that is the human being. We have not yet found everything that a laser can do. Lasers have revolutionized many fields such as science research, manufacturing, communication, photography, medicine and military applications. In this report, I will provide proof that lasers were one of the greatest advancements in physics.
Lasers have transformed chemistry research. Scientists use lasers to study the structure of atoms and molecules. They also use them to determine how their properties change under different conditions. Scientists can make new compounds, break down elements, and remove impurities from compounds.
Manufacturers of large equipment, computer chips, plastics and cardboard have all seen the changes that lasers have brought to their different industries.
Manufactures of large equipment use lasers for precision drilling and cutting by vaporizing the unwanted material (ex. where the hole is). This technique is used for hard materials such as steel and diamonds. There is less waste by-products when using lasers because it vaporizes the material. This saves companies time and money because they do not have to shut down to clean up, retool the machine or to have tools sharpened. It has also made it safer for the workers because they can be in a separate room out of the danger. These lasers can do precision welding. It does not make the metal hot like a conventional acetylene torch therefore it does not weaken metal.
Warehouses where plastic, cardboard and heavy fabrics are produced use lasers to cut quickly and accurately through the sheets of materials. This cuts down on the cost of manufacturing because a laser never gets dull.
Computer manufacturers use lasers to treat semiconductor chips. They also use the laser to do precision welding in glass tubes such as resistors, diodes, transistors, and many other microchips. This has enabled computer companies to decrease the size of the computer and increase the processing speed of the computer.
Another area in industry where lasers are used is mining. They use the laser to precision digging and drilling. Mine safety people use lasers to test shafts in the mine for cracks. The laser shoots the beams in all directions and from that a computer can tell the size, shape, and if there are any cracks in the tunnel or digging area. This is a very valuable tool because it cuts down on the chance of an accident.
The laser has revolutionized communication. Because of the high frequency of laser light it can carry approximately 1000 times the TV channels as carried by microwaves. This makes lasers the ideal tool for space communication. Lasers are now being used for communication on earth such as telephones and computer systems. This is made possible by low-loss optical fibers also known as fiber optics. With use of fiber optics, signals can be sent up to 100 kilometers before you need a signal booster compared to the current system where you needed a signal booster every 1.5 kilometers.
Lasers can produce a type of three-dimensional image called holograms. Holograms are made by exposing laser light to a piece of film. The object that is being holographed strews the laser light. The piece of film being holographed is also being exposed to light coming directly from the laser this is the reference beam. These two beams of laser light become disharmonious with on another because they are traveling from different paths. The film then records the interference pattern, between the two light beams, which is the hologram. To view the hologram you simply pass a beam of light through the film and it
diffracts due to the interference pattern on the film and reproduces the original image.
Lasers have advanced medicine in so many different ways from eye surgery to plastic surgery. Doctors are always finding new ways that lasers can be used to make procedures easier to perform and to shorten the length of the procedure and easier on the patient in terms of recovery time.
Many private companies are using lasers to correct vision problems. Lasik (laser-In-Situ Keratomileusis) is the most common technique for correcting the near-sighted condition. The procedure takes about five to ten minutes per eye depending upon how bad the eyesight of the person is. If the surgery is successful you should not have to wear glasses again for the treated condition.
Doctors who perform plastic surgery find the laser very helpful in many different areas. They can now remove a tattoo by simply burning it off with a laser. Although this procedure is relatively painful, the pain does not last long. When doing plastic surgery the doctors will use laser to cut into or underneath the skin. As the doctor cuts the capillaries the laser automatically seals the blood flow preventing blood loss making for a cleaner surgery. The benefit to using lasers in this instance is time savings.
Lasers can easily vaporize surface tumors. Surgeons also use them for cutting many of the human organs instead of a scalpel because they can make a more precise cut in the tissue around affected area. The laser will not damage the tissue surrounding the cut.
Dentists use lasers to burn out diseased parts of teeth. This is a lot quicker and less painful then drilling the tooth. It also does a much cleaner job and is easier for the dentist to fill afterwards.
The military s main use for lasers is for their missile guidance systems. These systems currently need someone close to the target with a laser beam to point at the target to guide the missile to it. They have already started the construction of satellites that will be able to do this job from space. The United States is proposing to use lasers as an anti-missile system. The laser would send a concentrated beam of laser light at a missile and destroy the missile in the air. The military and the United States government have already started testing laser beams that will be able to destroy spy satellites.
The military uses laser sights on their guns. These are extremely useful because the troops no longer have to use scopes as a red dot from the laser shows up on the target where the bullet will strike.
The laser is instrumental in the making of nuclear warheads. Using the turnable dye laser, scientists are now able to selectively excite atoms or molecules which in return has opened up more successful ways to separate isotopes in the construction of nuclear warheads.
There are a variety of industrial, medical and military use for laser technology. They have proven to be very useful in making industrial work places safer for the employees. Their use in hospitals is now allowing us to do surgery safer, quicker and more accurate than before resulting in faster recovery for the patient and lower hospital costs. The laser has revolutionized both communications sector with space communication and the military in the use of guidance systems and the development of nuclear warheads. It has affected our everyday life with inventions such as compact discs, compact disc players, laser printers, digital video disc and digital video disc players. The laser has affected so many different fields of work and most (except for the nuclear warheads) have been positive. This is why I feel that the laser is the greatest advancement in physics.
1) Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia of Science, United States of America, 1986, volume 11, pages 908, 909, 910 and 911.
2) Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99, Microsoft Corporation, United States of America, 1998.
3) The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Grolier Incorporated, United States of America, 1995.
4) Bell Labs, www.bell-labs.com/
5) The Laser Center, www.lzr.com/