Maybe you came across lasers in Star Wars for the first time? But actually, laser is around us all the time.


The barcode scanner in the supermarket, the old CD player, car headlamps, virtual reality gaming headsets, laser blaster games, printers in the office, laser projectors in the meeting room, laser hair removal, lighting in the concert, and not to mention that it’s the origin for you to get access to the internet.


So now you may wonder, what is a laser? A laser needs at least these components: first is the gain medium inside to amplify the light, then some extra pump energy, like electricity, then two mirrors, one to reflect the light back and one to get the light out. And the two most important properties of laser are: high power and single direction.


Meet Dr Hui Wang. She is a research scientist at Irish Photonics Integration Center, or IPIC, based in Tyndall National Institute, here in Cork. IPIC has four different themes spanning areas from photonics theory right through to materials, devices, systems, and applications.


In this video, Hui will show you how a laser is made in IPIC. The research starts from how light is generated in theory, how to grow materials, how to make a laser in a cleanroom, called fabrication and how to integrate lasers and other devices together to do something.

You may have first been introduced to lasers on Star Wars, but have you every stopped to think about the science behind them?

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