Lasers and their applications in chemistry
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Lasers and their applications in chemistry. Dr Dean Venables (G16). Course outline. Part (1) looks at what lasers are and how they work . What is a laser? What are its properties? How does a laser work? What molecular transitions produce laser operation?

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Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Dr Dean Venables (G16)


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Course outline

Part (1) looks at what lasers are and how they work

What is a laser?

What are its properties?

How does a laser work?

What molecular transitions produce laser operation?

How are these practically realised?

What are some common types of laser?

Part (2) looks at several applications of lasers in chemistry

Laser spectroscopy

1 test and 1 assignment


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

References

  • Basic overview of lasers:

    • Atkins, de Paula, Physical Chemistry

    • Hollas, Modern Spectroscopy

  • More advanced texts on lasers and their applications:

    • Milonni, Eberly, Lasers

    • Siegman, Lasers

    • Silfast, Laser Fundamentals

    • Telle, Urena, Donovan, Laser Chemistry: Spectroscopy, Dynamics, and Applications

    • Demtröder, Laser Spectroscopy: Basic Concepts and Instrumentation

(These are all available in the library)


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

1.1 Lasers – an introduction

What is a laser?

“LASER”:

Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation

“A laser is a device that amplifies light and produces a highly directional, high intensity beam that most often has a very pure frequency or wavelength” [Silfast]


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Lasers have unique characteristics as light sources:

Directionality

Monochromaticity

Brightness

Coherence

Other properties:

Pulsed or continuous operation

Tunable

Polarised light


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Why are these properties useful?

Video: Applications of lasers


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Principal components of a laser

1. Gain medium2. Laser pumping energy3. High reflector4. Output coupler5. Laser beam


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

Preconditions for laser operation

“Population inversion”

- consider populations of and transitions between energy levels in molecules in the gain medium (1)

Optical cavity

- look at the physical design of a laser – cavity formed by the high reflector (3) and output coupler (4)

1. Gain medium2. Laser pumping energy3. High reflector4. Output coupler5. Laser beam


Lasers and their applications in chemistry

A short sketch of laser history

1917: Einstein – stimulated absorption and

emission of light

1954: Charles Townes and Schawlow – maser,

prediction of the optical laser

Nobel Prize (1964)

1960: Theodore Maiman – first demonstration of a laser:

Ruby laser

Rapid progress in the 1960s:

1961: first gas laser, first Nd laser

1962: first semiconductor laser

1963: CO2 laser (IR)


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