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05/08/2020 | International Day of Light

PhotonicsViews

On 16 May, we celebrate the International Day of Light. But not only that, it is also the 60th birthday of the LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). It was first put into operation on 16 May 1960 by Theodore Maiman in the form of a ruby laser. Today, this special form of light makes our lives pleasant, quite naturally but mostly in secret.

Spectacular death - James Bond brings the laser on the screen


And yet, the laser had not started out so successfully. It was not until 1964 that the laser really entered the consciousness of a wider public, and this with the dubious honour of having almost emasculated His Majesty's favourite agent. In the James Bond film "Goldfinger", the villain Auric Goldfinger (played by Gerd Fröbe) came up with the innovative idea to split his opponent 007 (played by Sean Connery) lengthwise with a laser beam. The cinema audience was both horrified and fascinated by the new technology. At that time, the technology was far from being as advanced as it is today, even though no laser can still cut the 5 cm thick steel plate Bond was strapped to at that speed. The filmmakers had to improvise. Under the steel table was a technician with a cutting torch, who simulated the incision of the laser from below. The red laser beam was only drawn into the scene afterwards. Fortunately, James was able to free himself and remained with us until today. But even if the laser had been responsible for the passing of the world's most famous secret agent, it would not have been able to stop the laser's triumphant advance. Today the laser and with it the light is not to be excluded from the modern technology any more.

Today it is impossible to imagine life without the laser


There are countless applications that would be impossible without the laser. Starting with CD/DVD/blu-ray players, in which the data carrier is scanned by a laser beam, through data transmission in optical fibers, which only make modern and fast broadband communication possible, to the many medical applications that would be unthinkable without today's laser technology. The possibilities are virtually infinite and we are ultimately only at the beginning of this development.

The century of the electron, the fundamental elementary particle of electricity, is, so to speak, a thing of the past; we are now in the century of the photon, the elementary particle of light.

LinkedIn series on the International Day of Light


Therefore we want to present you every day until May 16th a small example of an interesting application that works with the help of light and changes our lives. So be curious and check out our LinkedIn page every day.