• High Power Laser Science and Engineering
  • Vol. 9, Issue 2, 02000e18 (2021)
Colin N. Danson1、2、3, Malcolm White4、5、6, John R. M. Barr7, Thomas Bett8, Peter Blyth9、10、11、12, David Bowley13, Ceri Brenner14, Robert J. Collins15, Neal Croxford16, A. E. Bucker Dangor17, Laurence Devereux18, Peter E. Dyer19, Anthony Dymoke-Bradshaw20, Christopher B. Edwards1、14, Paul Ewart21, Allister I. Ferguson22, John M. Girkin23, Denis R. Hall24, David C. Hanna25, Wayne Harris26, David I. Hillier1, Christopher J. Hooker14, Simon M. Hooker21, Nicholas Hopps1、17, Janet Hull27, David Hunt8, Dino A. Jaroszynski28, Mark Kempenaars29, Helmut Kessler30, Sir Peter L. Knight17, Steve Knight31, Adrian Knowles32, Ciaran L. S. Lewis33, Ken S. Lipton34, Abby Littlechild35, John Littlechild35, Peter Maggs36, Graeme P. A. Malcolm37, Stuart P. D. Mangles17, William Martin38, Paul McKenna28, Richard O. Moore1, Clive Morrison39, Zulfikar Najmudin17, David Neely14、28, Geoff H. C. New17, Michael J. Norman8, Ted Paine31, Anthony W. Parker14, Rory R. Penman1、*, Geoff J. Pert40, Chris Pietraszewski41, Andrew Randewich1, Nadeem H. Rizvi42, Nigel Seddon43, Zheng-Ming Sheng28、44, David Slater45, Roland A. Smith17, Christopher Spindloe14, Roy Taylor17, Gary Thomas46, John W. G. Tisch17, Justin S. Wark2、21, Colin Webb21, S. Mark Wiggins28, Dave Willford47, and Trevor Winstone14
Author Affiliations
  • 1AWE Aldermaston, Reading, UK
  • 2Oxford Centre for High Energy Density Science, Department of Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 3Centre for Intertial Fusion Studies, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, London, UK
  • 4Formerly of Electrox, Letchworth, UK
  • 5Formerly of Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Laboratory, Didcot, UK
  • 6Formerly of Ferranti Defence Systems, Lincoln, UK
  • 7Leonardo, Edinburgh, UK
  • 8Retired, AWE, Reading, UK
  • 9Formerly of AWE, Reading, UK
  • 10Formerly of Laser Lines Ltd, Banbury, UK
  • 11Formerly of Optilas Ltd, Milton Keynes, UK
  • 12Retired, Pro-Lite Technology, Cranfield, UK
  • 13Specialised Imaging Ltd, Pitstone, UK
  • 14Central Laser Facility, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, UK
  • 15Magna-Power Electronics Ltd, Reading, UK
  • 16DeBe Lasers, Needham Laser Technologies, Whitchurch, UK
  • 17Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, London, UK
  • 18SPIE Europe, Cardiff, UK
  • 19Professor Emeritus (Physics), University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, UK
  • 20Kentech Instruments Ltd, Wallingford, UK
  • 21Department of Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 22Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • 23Department of Physics, Durham University, Durham, UK
  • 24Professor Emeritus (Photonics), Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
  • 25Professor Emeritus, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  • 26Optical Surfaces Ltd, Kenley, UK
  • 27JEH Lasers Ltd, Rugby, UK
  • 28Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • 29ITER Organization, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France
  • 30Manx Precision Optics Ltd, Ballasalla, UK
  • 31Laser Lines Ltd, Banbury, UK
  • 32Elliot Scientific Ltd, MetroTest Scientific Group, Harpenden, UK
  • 33Centre for Plasma Physics, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  • 34Retired, Founder, and former MD, Rofin-Sinar UK Ltd, Hull, UK
  • 35Heraeus Noblelight Ltd, Cambridge, UK
  • 36Mirli Books, Chelmsford, UK
  • 37M Squared Lasers Ltd, Glasgow, UK
  • 38University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
  • 39E&EO UK Ltd, Barton-upon-Humber, UK
  • 40Department of Physics, University of York, York, UK
  • 41IC Optical Systems Ltd, Beckenham, UK
  • 42Laser Micromachining Ltd, St Asaph, UK
  • 43MBDA UK Ltd, Bristol, UK
  • 44Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
  • 45Photek Ltd, St Leonards-on-Sea, UK
  • 46Island Optics Ltd, Ballasalla, UK
  • 47Retired, Lincoln, UK
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    The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.

    1 Introduction

    The start of the laser story goes back over a hundred years when in 1917 Albert Einstein suggested the concept of stimulated emission. Prior to optical lasers there were operational masers, the equivalent to lasers working in the microwave region of the spectrum, for which Charles Townes, Aleksandr Prokhorov, and Nikolay Basov were awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics[1]. Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes, Bell Labs/Columbia University, are generally credited with ‘inventing’ the laser[2], although Gordon Gould is considered by many to be its inventor as he coined the term LASER (‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’[3]) and eventually was awarded patents on many types of lasers. In 1960 Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, USA, demonstrated the first optical laser[4]. This was a pivotal moment globally and groups from around the world took up the challenge to develop laser systems leading to them being used in a broad range of applications.

    Copy Citation Text
    Colin N. Danson, Malcolm White, John R. M. Barr, Thomas Bett, Peter Blyth, David Bowley, Ceri Brenner, Robert J. Collins, Neal Croxford, A. E. Bucker Dangor, Laurence Devereux, Peter E. Dyer, Anthony Dymoke-Bradshaw, Christopher B. Edwards, Paul Ewart, Allister I. Ferguson, John M. Girkin, Denis R. Hall, David C. Hanna, Wayne Harris, David I. Hillier, Christopher J. Hooker, Simon M. Hooker, Nicholas Hopps, Janet Hull, David Hunt, Dino A. Jaroszynski, Mark Kempenaars, Helmut Kessler, Sir Peter L. Knight, Steve Knight, Adrian Knowles, Ciaran L. S. Lewis, Ken S. Lipton, Abby Littlechild, John Littlechild, Peter Maggs, Graeme P. A. Malcolm, Stuart P. D. Mangles, William Martin, Paul McKenna, Richard O. Moore, Clive Morrison, Zulfikar Najmudin, David Neely, Geoff H. C. New, Michael J. Norman, Ted Paine, Anthony W. Parker, Rory R. Penman, Geoff J. Pert, Chris Pietraszewski, Andrew Randewich, Nadeem H. Rizvi, Nigel Seddon, Zheng-Ming Sheng, David Slater, Roland A. Smith, Christopher Spindloe, Roy Taylor, Gary Thomas, John W. G. Tisch, Justin S. Wark, Colin Webb, S. Mark Wiggins, Dave Willford, Trevor Winstone. A history of high-power laser research and development in the United Kingdom[J]. High Power Laser Science and Engineering, 2021, 9(2): 02000e18
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    Category: Research Articles
    Received: Dec. 4, 2020
    Accepted: Jan. 26, 2021
    Published Online: Apr. 28, 2021
    The Author Email: Rory R. Penman (rory.penman@awe.co.uk)