Experiment with a laser (U.S. Air Force)

A laser is a device that emits light (electromagnetic radiation) through a process called stimulated emission.


The term "laser" is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

What it is[]

Laser light is usually spatially coherent, which means that the light either is emitted in a narrow, low-divergence beam, or can be converted into one with the help of optical components such as lenses.

How it works[]

Typically, lasers are thought of as emitting light with a narrow wavelength spectrum ("monochromatic" light). This is not true of all lasers, however: some emit light with a broad spectrum, while others emit light at multiple distinct wavelengths simultaneously. The coherence of typical laser emission is distinctive. Most other light sources emit incoherent light, which has a phase that varies randomly with time and position.

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