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A maser, an acronym for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, is a device that produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification by stimulated emission. The first maser was built at Columbia University in 1953.

The invention of the laser, which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, can be dated to 1958 with the publication of the scientific paper, Infrared and Optical Masers, by Arthur L. Schawlow, then a Bell Labs researcher, and Charles H. Townes, a consultant to Bell Labs.

In December 1960, Ali Javan, William Bennett Jr. and Donald Herriott of Bell Labs develop the helium-neon (HeNe) laser, the first to generate a continuous beam of light at 1.15 μm (US patents 3,149,290 and 3,614,653).

The model featured on this page, made in 1963, is described in US Patent 3,614,654.

Bell Labs was still using “optical maser” rather than “laser” to describe this device.

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Bell Labs Optical Maser

The Optical Maser.

Bell Labs Optical Maser, Mirror Mount Assembly

Mirror Mount Assembly.

Bell Labs Optical Maser, Power Supply

Power Supply.

Bell Labs Optical Maser, Gaseous Maser Tube

Gaseous Maser Tube.

Bell Labs Optical Maser, Mirror Mount Assembly

Mirror Mount Assembly.

1. Mirror Frame B-587954
2. Block SK12463
3. Spring B-588998
4. Spring B-587953
5. Mirror Holder B-587951
6. Adjusting Screw B-587952
7. Retaining Ring B-587950
8. Mirror

Bell Labs Optical Maser, power supply diagram

Power supply diagram.


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