Experimental Laser Crystal


A major breakthrough marks only the beginning of a scientist's work. In November 1960 Peter Sorokin and Mirek Stevenson, at IBM's Watson Research Center, successfully demonstrated a second type of laser. They energized a crystal of calcium-fluorine treated with a variety of uranium (written in chemical symbols as CaF2:U3+) to generate a pulse of laser light.

Sorokin and other colleagues experimented with many elements as they learned more about both pulsed and continuous-wave lasers. This crystal, from mid-1962, was the first one made of strontium, fluorine and samarium (SrF2:Sm2+) to successfully operate. Laser research was a very competitive field. Despite their efforts at IBM, Sorokin told museum staff that a team from Bell Labs, "made the first CW [continuous wave] solid-state laser using an ordinary crystal of CaF2:U3+. After that achievement we abandoned our CW efforts and went on to other topics." Those other topics included significant early work on generating laser beams using liquid dyes.

Date Made: 1962

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: LaserInvention


See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Energy & Power, Lasers, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from International Business Machines Corp., Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1985.0268.06Catalog Number: 1985.0268.06Accession Number: 1985.0268

Object Name: crystallaser crystalOther Terms: crystal; Lasers/Masers

Physical Description: strontium (overall material)samarium (overall material)fluorine (overall material)white (overall color)Measurements: overall: 3/4 in x 3/16 in; 1.905 cm x .47625 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a9-72c2-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1099837

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