Helium-Neon Laser Discharge Apparatus

Description
This is the discharge unit for the third type of laser invented. Dr. Ali Javan and his colleagues William Bennett and Donald Herriott demonstrated this laser at Bell Labs in December 1960. Using a mixture of helium and neon gasses, this laser emitted a continuous beam of light at 1.153 nano-meters, in the near-infrared part of the spectrum. Their successful demonstration proved crucial for many applications. The first supermarket scanners, made by Spectra Physics, used a helium-neon laser, as have many other commercial devices.
Ali Javan came to the U.S. from Iran in 1948 and trained in the laboratory of maser inventor Charles H. Townes at Columbia University. When he received his Ph.D. in 1954, Javan went to work at Bell Labs where began investigating the possibility of making a laser using a gaseous medium. His laser was the first gas laser as well as the first laser to produce a continuous beam of radiation.
Object Name
laser
gas-filled laser
date made
1960
maker
Javan, Ali
Physical Description
helium (fill gas material)
neon (fill gas material)
steel (overall material)
quartz (tube material)
copper (part material)
Measurements
overall: 6 7/8 in x 42 1/2 in x 8 1/4 in; 17.4625 cm x 107.95 cm x 20.955 cm
ID Number
2008.0153.01
accession number
2008.0153
catalog number
2008.0153.01
subject
Laser
Invention
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Science & Mathematics
Lasers
Energy & Power
Exhibition
Inventing In America
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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