Maser Focusing Assembly

<< >>
Description
This object, the focusing assembly from the second maser, was made at Columbia University in 1954 by a team led by physicist Charles H. Townes. Maser stands for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Masers operate on the same principals as lasers, but they amplify microwaves instead of light. In fact, masers came first. Microwaves have lower energy levels than light and so were easier to produce, although the maser was not a simple invention.
After working on microwave radar and other devices during the Second World War, Townes undertook investigations of microwave spectroscopy at Columbia University. Working with James Gordon and Herbert Zeigler, he successfully demonstrated an ammonia-beam maser in April 1954. The unit was quite large so Townes developed a smaller unit later that year, several pieces of which were donated to the Smithsonian in 1965.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1954
associated date
1953
maker
Townes, Charles H.
Physical Description
ceramic (part material)
brass (part material)
glass (part material)
Measurements
overall: 10 1/4 in x 10 1/4 in x 4 1/2 in; 26.035 cm x 26.035 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
EM.323893
catalog number
323893
accession number
260038
Credit Line
from Charles H. Townes and Columbia University
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Science & Mathematics
Lasers
Energy & Power
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Comments

Add a comment about this object