August 1, 2013 Issue

Physics To Go 138 - White light lasers

« Previous issue         Issue Archive         Next issue »

Physics in Your World

Wikipedia: Laser Lighting Display image
image credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos;  image source; larger image

Wikipedia: Laser Lighting Display

To learn the basics of laser light shows, visit Wikipedia: Laser Lighting Display. If you do any activity with a laser pointer, first read laser pointer safety.

Login to Comment on this Item

Physics at Home


Check out these videos of laser light shows (from the 50th anniversary of the laser celebration).


From Physics Research

Wikipedia: Supercontinuum image
image credit: Antti Aalto; image source; larger image

Wikipedia: Supercontinuum

The photo above shows a "supercontinuum" laser, which produces laser light in much of the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). In this photo, the laser light hits a diffraction grating, which acts like a prism and reveals the individual colors of the light. Look how bright the light of each color is!

An ordinary laser produces laser light with just one frequency (that is, light of just one color). In a supercontinuum laser, infrared laser light passes through a special glass fiber. In the fiber, this light generates many new frequencies (new colors) in the visible spectrum, and can produce white light. To learn more, see Wikipedia: Supercontinuum.

For a photograph of another supercontinuum laser, click here. Note how in this photo, the coil of fiber produces all the colors of the spectrum. Also, can you find the fiber in the image above?

Worth a Look

Schawlow and Townes Invent the Laser

To learn about the invention of the laser at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, click here.

Recent Submissions