Beyond the Beam: A History of Multidimensional Lasers

Zoltán György Horváth

For the past half century, both scientists and the public have come to think of lasers as producing line-like beams. Yet there’s nothing about the laser that requires light emission to occur in a single dimension. Though initially forgotten and ignored, multidimensional lasers may define the next era of the technology’s evolution.


figureThe crossing of 1-D and 3-D lights.

If one carefully reads the history of the maser and its transformation into the laser (1954-1960), it is clear that, in the beginning, line-like, one-dimensional emission was never a target for, nor a fundamental requirement of, the laser—except, of course, in the brilliant science fiction of H.G. Wells and Aleksey Tolstoy.

Log in or become a member to view the full text of this article.

This article may be available for purchase via the search at Optica Publishing Group.
Optica Members get the full text of Optics & Photonics News, plus a variety of other member benefits.

Add a Comment