Laser in operation

laser – a device that emits a direct beam of light based on a stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation through a process of optical amplifying.

Combatting weeds with lasers – A robot automatically identifies weeds in a field and combats them with a short laser pulse. Sustainable agriculture, which avoids the use of herbicides as far as possible, could benefit from this smart idea.

Laser – an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A typical laser emits light in a narrow, low- divergence monochromatic (single-colored, if the laser is operating in the visible spectrum), beam with a well-defined wavelength. In this way, laser light is in contrast to a light source such as the incandescent light bulb, which emits light over a wide area and over a wide spectrum of wavelengths.

The first working laser was demonstrated in May 1960 by Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories.

And sometimes there is a “solution looking for a problem.” These are great ideas and things that are technical possible but the creators didn’t really know what they might be used for. However, some turn out to be enormously successful. Lasers are a good example.


  • competition, winner
  • background – spinoff
  • uses – cutting, welding,
  • continued development for broader application

Research at the Electronics Resource Centers (ERC) was conducted in ten different laboratories: space guidance, systems, computers, instrumentation research, space optics, power conditioning and distribution, microwave radiation, electronics components, qualifications and standards, and control and information systems. Researchers investigated such areas as microwave and laser communications; the miniaturization and radiation resistance of electronic components; guidance and control systems; photovoltaic energy conversion; information display devices; instrumentation; and computers and data processing.
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  • New laser shines a light on breath testing for disease – breath testing as a form of early and non-invasive disease detection, using a new kind of laser with the ability to detect low concentrations of gases, opening up even more possibilities for disease diagnosis and other applications such as measuring the concentration of particular greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.