We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Lasers?

By Jesse J
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are three types of lasers: solid state, gas and liquid. While all work according to the same general principles, they are differentiated on the basis of the medium they employ to create the laser action.

In solid state lasers, an electrical current pumps electrons into the laser medium - typically a semiconductor - exciting electrons that are fixed in the medium. Driven into higher energy states, a condition known as a population inversion, the excited electrons quickly decay back into lower energy states, releasing the excess energy as photons. Carefully positioned mirrors bounce photons hitting them at 90 degree angles back and forth, in turn stimulating other excited electrons to emit photons with identical wavelengths, directions of propagation, and polarizations; this is a process called amplification. Because the mirrors are of unequal reflectivity, the photons are eventually able to escape and their output constitutes the laser action.

The first solid state semiconductor-based lasers were built in 1963. Prior to that, and beginning with the first laser ever built in 1958, solid state lasers were insulator-based, typically using a glass or crystal medium like ruby that was pumped by another non-laser light source to achieve a population inversion. As the technology developed, lasers were used to pump other lasers. Solid state lasers have a variety of medical and industrial applications.

Gas lasers first appeared in 1960. Initially, they used a mixture of helium and neon as their medium, with carbon dioxide coming later. In both cases, a high voltage, high frequency electrical current creates an electrical discharge in a tube containing the gas, leading to a population inversion. Gas lasers can also use more powerful and volatile mediums like hydrogen and fluorine - both are commonly found in rocket fuel - where the combustion of the gasses acts as a pump. Gas lasers are generally the most powerful lasers and frequently mentioned in connection with quixotic military applications, a.k.a., "death rays."

Liquid lasers employ colored compounds carried by a solvent, which are then pumped via other light sources to the point where electrons occupy higher energy levels. A wide range of materials can be used, including copper, chromium, dyes, metallic salts or even jello. With a controlled flow of fluid passing over the pump, liquid lasers are more easily stabilized than other types of lasers, making them useful in isotope separation, measuring, and the manufacture of integrated circuits.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.