LIA Timeline

LIA Timeline

The LIA timeline represents significant events that demonstrate advances in laser technologies. Since the 1960s the laser has come a long way, just like our very own members.


Submit any key contributions in the laser community by filling out the form below.

Submission Criteria

Current Timeline

Theodore Maiman
  • 1960 – Theodore Maiman demonstrates the laser using a ruby crystal in his laboratory.
  • 1964 – Arthur Schawlow shares Nobel Prize in Physics for invention of the laser; initiates program of radio and infrared astronomy at University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1968 – The Laser Institute of America is founded, previously known as the Laser Industry Association.

  • 1970 –Nikolai Basov, V. A. Danyilychev, and Yu M. Popov create the excimer laser which became popular in lithography machines, and later on used in the medical field.
  • 1976 – LAGEOS-1 is launched, consisting of 2 satellites, each is a high-density passive laser reflector.
  • 1979 – Gordon Gould receives a patent covering a broad range of laser applications.

  • 1982 – CDs debut. Originally used for video technology, CDs are used for audio.
  • 1985 – Green-emitting helium-neon lasers are introduced by Melles Griot.
  • 1988 – North America and Europe are linked by first fiber-optic cable.

  • 1994 – The Quantum Cascade (QC) laser is invented at Bell Labs by Jerome Faist, Federico Capasso, Deborah L. Sivco, Carlo Sirtori, Albert L. Hutchinson and Alfred Y. Cho.
  • 1996 – The first pulsed atom laser, which uses matter instead of light, is demonstrated at MIT by Wolfgang Ketterle.
  • 1997 – Mars Global Surveyor, carrying the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, reaches Mars and begins mapping the planet's surface with a laser radar.

Theodore Maiman
  • 2004 – Electronic switching in a Raman laser is demonstrated for the first time by Ozdal Boyraz and Bahram Jalali of UCLA.
  • 2009 – Laser market valued at nearly $6 billion.
  • 2009 – NASA launches LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), it uses lasers to gather data about the high and low points on the moon.

Short Pulsed Laser Image
  • 2010 – Short-pulse lasers are announced by Alfred Leitenstorfer and his research group from the University of Konstanz.
  • 2010 – Rainer Blatt and Piet O. Schmidt, along with their team, demonstrate a single-atom laser.
  • 2014 – Founding Father Dr. Charles Hard Townes passes away at the age of 99.
help desk software