Originally an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Common usage, however, has applied the term laser to any of several devices that convert a wide range of electromagnetic frequencies into one coherent frequency. This is done by exciting the atoms to reach a higher energy level where their wavelengths are in a single phase. The resultant laser beam has extremely intense energy. Lasers, first patented in 1960 by Bell Labs, have now been made using ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and microwave wavelength regions. Lasers are used in communication (optical fibers, satellites), medicine (surgery), spectroscopy (FT-IR, Raman, mass spectrometry), photography (holography) and for geographical mapping in difficult locations (planets, moon, ocean floor). Lasers have been used to remove encrustations, overpaint, soot, stains, fungi, and graffiti from several types of surfaces (Asmus 1978 and 2000).
See also Laser pointer.
Synonyms and Related Terms
laser (Dan., Deut., Fr., It., Ned., Nor., Pol., Port., Sven); láser (Esp.);
Can irreparably damage the eyes.
Physical and Chemical Properties
- Class 1: Safe for use in most anticipated exposure conditions
- Class 2: Visible light laser whose prolonged viewing is dangerous to the human eye
- Class 3B: Direct viewing of beam is hazardous, diffusely reflected beam should not be hazardous
- Class 4: High power lasers that are hazardous to eyes and skin at all times
Resources and Citations
- J.Asmus, "Light Cleaning: Laser Technology for Surface Preparation in the Arts", Technology & Conservation, 3/78, p. 14-18.
- J.Asmus, Workshop on Laser Cleaning, AIC meeting, Philadelphia, June 2000.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "laser" [Accessed 25 Jan. 2006].
- Laser Classifications at: http://ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/laser_classification.html
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser (Accessed Sept. 28, 2005)
- Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
- Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
- Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
- Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998