Maker's Name: 
UQ Physics Workshop
Where made: 
Late 1960s
19 × 13 × 27 cm

This ruby laser was built as an honours project under the supervision of Prof Ralph Parsons in the late 1960s.

The silver plated cylindrical reflector concentrates light from the linear flashlamp into a 75 mm long ruby rod with gold reflecting coatings on its ends.

When capacitors charged up to several thousand volts were discharged through the lamp, chromium atoms in the ruby were excited, and stimulated emission reflected back and forth produced blinding pulses of red light.

The first laser ever operated was a ruby laser made by Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California in July 1960.