Navigation and service

Optical Radiation

UV Radiation - Sun - Solaria - Infrared Radiation - Laser

Optische Strahlung

What is laser radiation?

Laser is an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation" and relates to the way of radiation generation. The laser is a relatively recent invention. It was for the first time realized in 1960 with a synthetic ruby crystal. In order to produce a laser beam a laser medium has to be energized by an external energy source (referred to as "pumping"). Many materials as e.g. solids, semiconductors, dyes or gases are used as a laser medium.

Medical Applications

Medical applications of laser are mainly based on its strong focusing and high power density. Moreover one takes advantage of the possibility to relay the laser light through flexible optical fibers. Thus endoscopic surgery with lasers is possible.

Applications in daily life and in technology

The remarkable properties of laser radiation resulted in many technical applications. It is used in production technology, for measurements, spectroscopy and holography. Laser-shows are very popular but compliance with protection measures is mandatory. Semiconductor lasers also known as laser diodes have important advantages. Therefore low power laser diodes are used in every day life, e.g. in laser pointers, laser printers, and CD/DVD players.

Biological effects

Biological and health effects of laser radiation are similar to those of normal optical radiation. They depend strongly on wavelength. The range of wavelength of laser radiation extends from approximately 10.000 nanometres (nm) to approximately 200 nm, that is, from infrared via visible light to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Since penetration depth into biological tissue is relatively low mainly skin and eyes are affected if laser radiation impacts accidentally on humans.

© Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz