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Im Rahmen eines Studiums an der HRW wirst du auch mit unterschiedlichen englischen Fachtexten konfrontiert werden. An dieser Stelle hast du die Möglichkeit, deine Fähigkeiten selbst einmal auf die Probe zu stellen.

And now in English: Please read the following text:

Laser Technology

Prof. Dr. L. U. Kempen, Hochschule Ruhr West

In the year 1960, at Hughes Laboratories in Malibu, California, a scientist named Theodore Maiman presented a strange new light source. It consisted of a polished Ruby crystal surrounded by a flashing lamp. When operated, it produced pulses of red light that were different than any light produced on earth before.

A year before, the possibility of such a light source had been described by a scientist called Gordon Gould. He filed a patent and called it a “LASER”, a short form of “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A lot of researchers were trying hard to build such a device – Maiman just was skilled enough to be the first who could really make it work. He was not too sure what to use it for – he called it “a solution looking for a problem”.

In fact, the possibility of creating such a light source had been thought of much earlier – by one of the best-known scientists of all time – Albert Einstein. In 1917, he had published his Paper “Zur Quantentheorie der Strahlung” (On the Quantum Theory of Radiation), in which he predicted a new method of radiation called “Stimulated Emission”. It just took 43 years to actually make it happen.

So what is so different about laser light ? “Normal” light sources produce light that can be thought of many short wave segments of light. The light from a laser acts more like a long, continuous wave. Because of this, it can be focused down to a very small point with a lot of energy, or it can form a very straight light beam that can go very long distances (even to the moon). Laser light also can be very powerful, with a brightness higher than on the surface of the sun.

Today, more than 50 years after the first laser was built, lasers are everywhere. You probably have a few in your home. While laser pointers are useful for highlighting presentations, there are lasers built into every CD, DVD and Blu-ray player. Your car likely was welded together by carbon dioxide lasers. When you drive it too fast and get a ticket for speeding, the police might have measured your speed by laser. And of course that ticket was printed on a laser printer.

Lasers today can be as small as a grain of salt or as big as a factory. Light can be produced from a gas, such as helium and neon, a crystal, a glass or a fluid. Engineers are still working hard to produce lasers with more power, shorter pulses, or higher pulse rates. The world’s leading manufacturer of lasers for manufacturing is a German company, TRUMPF GmbH, located close to Stuttgart.

Gordon Gould, who filed his patent for a laser in 1959, had to fight hard for the world to accept that he thought of it first. In 1987, almost 30 years later, the Federal Court in Washington, USA, finally accepted his original patent. By then, laser technology had become a large industry with more than $400 million in annual sales. Gould in the end was able to make money with his idea of an unusual light source, but only because he was simply refusing to ever give up trying – a sign of a good engineer.

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