The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Visible light is only one small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (Fig. 1). Although the exact nature of light is still not understood, it does show properties both of discrete particles (photons) and waves. For the purposes of understanding the electromagnetic spectrum and lasers, we will primarily look at light in terms of its wave characteristics. A wave is characterized by four quantities: wavelength, amplitude, frequency and velocity (Fig. 2).
KeywordsArgon Helium Fluoride Coherence Carbon Monoxide
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