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The History of The Laser and Its Modern Applications

Let’s talk about lasers. First, it might come as a surprise that it’s actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. It has its origins in the famous laser race spurred on by the publication of Laser Theory by two physicists, Charles Townes and Arthur L. Schawlow, but nowadays it has a wide variety of uses that would have never been dreamed of since its invention in 1958 by scientist Theodore Maiman. This article will discuss the laser’s general history and how its uses evolved from past to present.

History of The Laser

Lasers have a long and interesting history starting with their origins in microwave spectroscopy, a field dedicated to the investigation of the way visible light in the electromagnetic spectrum plays off of molecules using microwave radiation, which has since lead to new discoveries across different scientific fields. Theodore Maiman first built his laser out of ruby, a material initially thought to be ineffective in laser design. In fact, no one believed any of Maiman’s ideas would come to fruition, and he was discouraged by his boss and peers from experimenting. However, the underdog prevailed, reserving his place in history as the inventor of the first pulse laser and has paved the way for the invention of solid-state, dye, gas, and semiconductor lasers. Lasers have even been used to detect and record the long-theorized gravitational waves, which is an important discovery in the field of astronomy.

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Modern Applications

The laser has come a long way since 1958, and now they’re used in almost every aspect of daily life. For example, they are now used in hospitals, grocery stores, labs, and on the streets. Here is a list of modern uses of the laser:

  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Laser Nuclear Fusion
  • Barcode Scanners
  • 3D Scanners
  • Fiber Optics and Storage
  • Welding and Cutters
  • Medical Lasers
  • LiDar Traffic Enforcement
  • Missel Defence
  • Fingerprint Detection
  • Laser Eye Surgery
  • Cancer Treatment
  • DNA Sequencing

Lasers as Hobbies

Despite the original purpose for scientific advancement, the laser has since evolved into a multi-million-dollar business whose applications extend from practical all the way to decorative. Nowadays, lasers aren’t reserved only for science but have since opened up a new economic avenue for the hobbyist and for those who would benefit from their innovative products. Below are a few material ideas for etching and engraving:

  • Glass Etching
  • Rubber Stamps
  • Sign Engraving
  • Acrylic and Plastic
  • Wood-Engraving
  • Leather Engraving
  • Model Making
  • Metal Etching
  • Photo Etching
  • Education
  • Wood Cutting
  • Stone Engraving
  • Fabric Engraving


From the laser’s origins to the present day, its application has evolved from something straight out of science fiction to real-life possibilities only limited to the imagination. Lasers have saved countless lives with their introduction to medical science, LiDar traffic enforcement, and military defence. Not only have they made everyday life easier and more fulfilling, but they have also found their way into the homes of the average person who can create memorable experiences and products with the use of the laser.