On 16 May 1960, at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California, Theordore Maiman and his co-workers C K Asawa and I J D'Haenens produced, from a single-crystal ruby rod, the first ever beam of coherent visible radiation. This was the first working example of a laser.
To celebrate this event QUB coordinated, in conjunction with the Institute of Physics in Ireland and Physics Departments in Irish Universities, a one day meeting to reflect the history, applications and future of the laser along with insights into current leading research within Irish Universities. Young scientists were also encouraged to present their innovative research work at a poster session with an award for the best presentation.
At the time the laser was seen as a scientific curiosity looking for an application. Now lasers are ubiquitous being used in a vast range of applications from producing thermonuclear fusion to metal welding to delicate eye surgery.
Soon after the discovery Irish scientists were working on developing and applying lasers for their research and in various applications. Today they continue their internationally renowned work. Queen's for example has one of the most powerful University-based lasers outside of the USA while also housing some of the most delicate experiments exploring new optical phenomena with nano-structured media.
The Meeting also gave the scientific community of Ireland an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of Professor Dan Bradley (1928 to 2010) who pioneered laser research as a Professor at Queen's University Belfast, Imperial College London and Trinity College Dublin.
|10.00||The history of the laser||Roy Taylor (Imperial College)|
|11.15||Optics at Trinity College Dublin: Old and new||James Lunney (TCD)|
||Laser Micro-structuring with short pulse lasers and assist media
||Tom Glynn (NUIG)|
|12.30||Laser micromachining of medical devices
||David Gillen (Blue Acre Technology)|
|14.00||Nanolasers||Anatoly Zayats (QUB)|
|14.45||Multiphoton processes with extreme-UV free electron lasers||John Costello (DCU)|
|15.15||Fibre Bragg gratings: fabrication, development and applications
||Simon Grattan (Segenia Limited)|
||Coffee & poster session|
|16.30||Lasers and the science of the eye||Brian Vohnsen (UCD)|
||Novel semiconductor lasers||Brian Corbett (UCC/Tyndall)|
|17.30||The future of lasers||Matt Zepf (QUB)|
|18.15||Poster session and reception|
|19.30||Dinner with talk reflecting on the life and work of Professor Dan Bradley
||Wilson Sibbett (St Andrew's University)|
All attendees were encouraged to present A0 posters describing their own innovative research work involving the use or applications of lasers in any discipline. Poster titles, author and affiliation list were sent to email@example.com with the name of the presenter underlined. There was a prize for the best poster presentation by a postgraduate student. In addition the first two students to enter the competition from each Institution in Ireland got free registration and a ticket for the Banquet.