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Fifty Years of Advances in Solid-State Laser Materials

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Today, solid-state lasers continue to occupy a prominent place among the different kinds of laser devices, which are widely used in industrial, medical, military and scientific fields. The year 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the invention of the first laser device, ruby laser, on May 1960 at Hughes. It is therefore an appropriate time to look back at the developments in the laser field since its inception and to try to map out its milestones. There are in fact two kinds of solid-state laser materials: those based on light-pumped insulating host materials (crystals, glasses and ceramics) containing optically active point defects, and semiconductors lasers which are electrically excited. In this presentation, consideration will be given only to the area of solid-state lasers mainly based on metal transition ions (3d configuration) and rare earth ions (4f configuration) used as oscillators or amplifiers.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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