Ali Javan - The Gas Laser:
Doctor Ali Javan invented the helium neon laser, the first gas laser in 1960.
Ali Javan - Biography:
- Ali Javan was born December 26, 1926 in Tehran, Iran
- Immigrated to the United States in 1948.
- Received his Ph.D. in physics in 1954 from Columbia University.
- After graduation, Ali Javan became a researcher at Bell Labs, where he first proposed the principle of gas lasers, which led him to co-invent a laser composed of helium and neon.
- Worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an associate professor of physics in 1961 and full professor after 1964.
- In 1975, he received the Fredric Ives Medal from the Optical Society of America
- In 1993, Ali Javan was awarded the Albert Einstein World Medal of Science.
The Gas Laser:
The gas laser was the first continuous-light laser and the first laser to operate "on the principle of converting electrical energy to a laser light output." By definition, "a gas laser is a laser in which an electric current is discharged through a gas to produce light." Ali Javan received U.S. patent #3,149,290 together with William Bennett for the "Gas Optical Maser". Ali Javan first tested his invention on December 12, 1960.
Laser Beam Transmission:
On December 13, 1960, the first telephone conversation using laser beam transmission occurred. Ali Javan describes the moment in an interview with Betty Blair, "I put in a call to the lab. One of the team members answered and asked me to hold the line for a moment. Then I heard a voice [Mr. Balik], somewhat quivering in transmission, telling me that it was the laser light speaking to me."
Importance of the Gas Laser:
The gas laser laid the foundation for fiber optic communication. It is considered the most useful, practical and profitable type of laser in use today. The gas laser is also used in:
- UPC code checkout scanners
- other construction, medical and monitoring technologies