Cover Story

Fifty years ago this month, physicist Theodore Maiman and his colleagues succeeded in making the first laser work at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., U.S.A.And five years before that, Charles Townes and his team laid the... more>>

Features

Lasers and the Glory Days of Industrial Research

Fifty years ago, well-funded corporate labs were great places to do research. They could afford sophisticated equipment; they employed an enviable depth of talent; and they paid better than academia. That made them the ideal environment for developing lasers in the 1960s. more>>


Hybrid Silicon Lasers: The Final Frontier to Integrated Computing

Silicon photonics may revolutionize the 21st century by bringing together two technological areas that transformed the 20th—photonics and microelectronics. Here, the team that pioneered optically and electrically pumped silicon lasers describes their groundbreaking work and where this exciting field is headed. more>>


Reflections on the First Maser

Before the laser, there was the maser, and, before that, an idea: to build a microwave amplifier using ammonia molecules. Jim Gordon takes us back to the early 1950s, when he had to decide whether Charles Townes’s vision for creating a coherent oscillator was promising enough for him to commit to for his Ph.D. project. more>>


A Short History of Laser Light Shows

For almost as long as visible-wavelength lasers have existed, artists have been inspired by their potential to create stunning visual displays. more>>