Definition: the field of physics dealing with phenomena in lasers
Categories: laser devices and laser physics, physical foundations
Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta
How to cite the article; suggest additional literature
Laser physics is concerned with various physical aspects of the operation of lasers, such as
- the physics of laser gain media (e.g. microscopic effects relevant for the laser performance)
- the temporal evolution of light in the laser resonator, e.g. the build-up of laser power in Q-switched operation (→ laser dynamics)
- the formation of ultrashort pulses via mode locking (→ pulse propagation modeling), or the origins of laser noise
- the sensitivity of laser resonators against thermal lensing effects or misalignment
A comprehensive knowledge of laser physics in addition to optics is an indispensable requirement for good laser design and laser development. For example, an understanding of laser dynamics is important for designing Q-switched lasers. Similarly, a deep knowledge of the properties of optical resonators, and of the effects which typically affect resonator modes of lasers, is essential for resonator design. Also, the development of laser sources for ultrashort pulses requires the understanding of the fundamental properties of short light pulses and their interaction with various components in a laser.
|||A. E. Siegman, Lasers, University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA (1986)|
|||O. Svelto, Principles of Lasers, Plenum Press, New York (1998)|
|||F. Träger (editor), Handbook of Lasers and Optics, Springer, Berlin (2007)|
|||R. Paschotta, Field Guide to Lasers, SPIE Press, Bellingham, WA (2007)|
See also: lasers, laser design, laser dynamics, pulse propagation modeling
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Laser physics seems to be a very big field. I want to pursue a Ph. D. in laser physics; how can I identify a specific area for my research?
The author's answer:
That's an important and difficult question. You may consider many aspects for such a decision: