Principles of Lasers / Edition 3

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This new Fourth Edition of Principles of Lasers is so thoroughly updated and expanded that it is virtually a whole new book. But the text's essential mission remains the same: to provide a wide-ranging yet unified description of laser behavior, physics, technology, and current applications. Dr. Svelto emphasizes the physical rather than the mathematical aspects of lasers, and presents the subject in the simplest terms compatible with a correct physical understanding.
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Editorial Reviews

**** The second edition (1982) of the translation from Italian is listed in BCL3. Svelto (physics, Polytechnic Institute of Milan) has here taken account of such developments as eximer, free-electron, and X-ray lasers. He emphasizes the physics of lasers over the mathematical. A fine textbook for junior/senior or graduate courses. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
From the reviews of earlier editions:

“Certainly, the student who is led into the laser field by this text is lucky. The text is excellent and filled with appropriate illustrations. The questions are also helpful as they highlight the important topics. All important types of lasers are considered and for each type the proper background is developed. For many years, this book has been the standard against which other textbooks in this field were measured, mostly unfavourably. This edition will certainly retain its top place.” (Optics & Laser Technology, 31, 1999)

“Professor Svelto is himself a longtime laser pioneer and his text shows the breadth of his broad acquaintance with all aspects of the field … Anyone mastering the contents of this book will be well prepared to understand advanced treatises and research papers in laser science and technology.” (Arthur L. Schawlow, 1981 Nobel Laureate in Physics)

“Already well established as a self-contained introduction to the physics and technology of lasers … Professor Svelto’s book, in this lucid translation by David Hanna, can be strongly recommended for self-study or teaching at the final-year undergraduate or first-year post-graduate levels.” (Physics Bulletin)

“A thorough understanding of this book in conjunction with one of the existing volumes on laser safety will go a long way in providing the health physicist with the understanding he needs … Highly recommended.” (Health Physics)

“Introduces laser science and technology with the accessibility appropriate for the nonspecialist and the enthusiasm of the pioneer.” (Laser Focus)

“A very good introduction to laser theory and practice … aimed at upper-level undergraduate students. It is logically organized and easy to read … Most of the basic mathematical framework needed to understand this evolving field is presented. Every chapter contains a good set of problems, answers to some of which are given in the back.” (Sci-Tech News)

From the reviews of the fifth edition:

“The aim of the book is stated as ‘to provide a broad and unified description of laser behaviour at the simplest level which is compatible with a correct physical understanding’. … The index is comprehensive and helpful. The book is well-structured and illustrated with numerous black-and-white figures. … The overall quality of the making, the print and the paper is good. The book can be recommended without constraint especially to advanced undergraduate students who look for a broad overview of modern laser physics and technology.” (Manuel Vogel, Contemporary Physics, Vol. 53 (2) March-April, 2012)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306429675
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1989
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 508

Meet the Author

Orazio Svelto is Professor of Quantum Electronics at the Polytechnic Institute of Milan and Director of the Quantum Electronics Center of the Italian National Research Council. His research has covered a wide range of activity in the field of laser physics and quantum electronics, starting from the very beginning of these disciplines. This activity includes ultrashort-pulse generation and applications, development of laser resonators and mode-selection techniques, laser applications in biology and medicine, and development of solid-state lasers. Professor Svelto is the author of more than 150 scientific papers and his researches have been the subject of more than 50 invited papers and international conferences. He has served as a program chair of the IX International Quantum Electronics Conference (1976), as a chair of the European program committee for CLEO ’85 and CLEO ’90, and he was general co-chair for the first CLEO-Europe Conference (1994). He is an elected member of the Italian "Accademia dei XL" and a Fellow of the IEEE.

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Table of Contents

List of Examples
1 Introductory Concepts 1
2 Interaction of Radiation with Atoms and Ions 17
3 Energy Levels, Radiative, and Nonradiative Transitions in Molecules and Semiconductors 81
4 Ray and Wave Propagation through Optical Media 129
5 Passive Optical Resonators 161
6 Pumping Processes 201
7 Continuous Wave Laser Behavior 249
8 Transient Laser Behavior 305
9 Solid-State, Dye, and Semiconductor Lasers 365
10 Gas, Chemical, Free-Electon, and X-Ray Lasers 419
11 Properties of Laser Beams 463
12 Laser Beam Transformation: Propagation, Amplification, Frequency Conversion, Pulse Compression, and Pulse Expansion 493
Appendixes 535
A Semiclassical Treatment of the Interaction of Radiation and Matter 535
B Lineshape Calculation for Collision Broadening 541
C Simplified Treatment of Amplified Spontaneous Emission 545
D Calculation of the Radiative Transition Rates of Molecular Transitions 549
E Space-Dependent Rate Equations 553
F Mode-Locking Theory: Homogeneous Line 563
G Propagation of a Laser Pulse through a Dispersive Medium or a Gain Medium 571
H Higher-Order Coherence 577
I Physical Constants and Useful Conversion Factors 581
Answers to Selected Problems 583
Index 595
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