AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

Introduction by George Kupczak of the AT&T Archives and History Center

This 1963 film shows how basic physical concepts are applied to make an optical maser oscillate. The optical maser is examined as a generator of electromagnetic energy in the optical range of frequencies, having many similar qualities to standard radio and microwave oscillators. The principal types of gas and solid-state optical masers are shown in the laboratory.

Dr. C. G. B. Garrett of Bell Laboratories (and his prominent British accent) presents the material, which also includes lab demonstrations and animation. The Optical maser is a phrase that means the same as Laser - or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A Laser is basically a Maser that works with photons in the light spectrum. There are optical and infrared masers, as profiled in the 1958 pioneering paper that introduced the concept to the world, written by Bell Labs scientists Charles H. Townes and Arthur L. Schawlow.

Dr. Garrett worked with Doctors Townes and Schawlow.

Original audience: college students
Produced at Bell Laboratories
Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 06/10/2011