The man I would consider the father of lasers was explaining the other day the uses of his discoveries and inventions. The gentleman holds many of the key patents in the field and is world renown for his knowledge in the field of light and lasers. His explanation of adoptive optics was fascinating as without it we would not be able to explore into the deepest reaches of space using the largest telescope or at the smallest of particles using magnifying equipment.
Wikipedia says “When lasers were invented in 1960, they were called “a solution looking for a problem”. Since then, they have become ubiquitous, finding utility in thousands of highly varied applications in every section of modern society, including consumer electronics, information technology, science, medicine, industry, law enforcement, entertainment, and the military.
The first use of lasers in the daily lives of the general population was the supermarket barcode scanner, introduced in 1974. The laserdisc player, introduced in 1978, was the first successful consumer product to include a laser but the compact disc player was the first laser-equipped device to become common, beginning in 1982 followed shortly by laser printers.
Some other uses are:
• Medicine: Bloodless surgery, laser healing, surgical treatment, kidney stone treatment, eye treatment, dentistry
• Industry: Cutting, welding, material heat treatment, marking parts, non-contact measurement of parts
• Military: Marking targets, guiding munitions, missile defence, electro-optical countermeasures (EOCM), alternative to radar, blinding troops.
• Law enforcement: used for latent fingerprint detection in the forensic identification field
• Research: Spectroscopy, laser ablation, laser annealing, laser scattering, laser interferometry, LIDAR, laser capture microdissection, fluorescence microscopy
• Product development/commercial: laser printers, optical discs (e.g. CDs and the like), barcode scanners, thermometers, laser pointers, holograms, bubblegrams.
• Laser lighting displays: Laser light shows
• Cosmetic skin treatments: acne treatment, cellulite and striae reduction, and hair removal.
In 2004, excluding diode lasers, approximately 131,000 lasers were sold with a value of US$2.19 billion. In the same year, approximately 733 million diode lasers, valued at $3.20 billion, were sold.”
He went on to explain that at the birth of the twenty first century at the begining of its first new millinieum, the U S military funded a major project on lasers. In the year 2000 Sep, the US finally demonstrated the power of the new laser system that could destroy a newly fired rocket in a matter of seconds. If you are not traveling at Mack 3,000 or higher this death ray will catch you. To hear it being described we can now deliver death itself, at the speed of light, with unerring accuracy against a remote flying object.
So now with the one and a half billion dollar weapon under our belts; we can go into another arms race where the new USAFL 747 adaption will be the new ruler in the skies. It has been built with the latest technology and engineering, featuring a heavy duty titanium nose to house the laser generator. Ladies and gentlemen please do not hold your nreath as I make this statement that, we will be able to deliver death sixty miles away at the speed of light.
We can forget about the glorious dog fights of the spit fires against the Nazi jets or US squadrons against the Jap zeros. Now war is anonymous and long distant and instantaneously destructive and any romantic notions that we humans have about war; should be forthwith discarded. as outdated and even humorous.
Not to be left behind the navy will equip ships all across the world; with the technology and the army is not far behind, and tanks will roll out with the latest weapons. We are on a roll and nothing will stop us now; from keeping our position as the shining light on the hill. From the darkness we will deliver light, whether you want it or not.
May the rest of the millinieum allow saner heads to prevail; and we can start to use the power of these inventions, for the greater good of mankind. We should not despair; and have faith in our basic human spirit, which will always strive to rise to a higher level.The next one and a half billion should be spent, to make the world a healthier and safer place using lazers!