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Lasers and fibre optics: Construction and working of He-new laser - co2 Laser Ruby laser Semi conductor laser - Application. Types of optical fibre - singled and bundled fibres - Fbre material - Attenuation - Dispersion - Fibre optic light sources - Detectors - Fibre optic communication - Principles of optical recording. UNIT II Super conductor: Qualitative study of the phenomenon - Critical temperature and critical field. Meissner affect - Josephson Effect - Type I and type 2 super conductors. BCS theory of super conductivity (Qualitative) - high temperature super Conductors. - Application: Cryotron. Magnetic leviation -Super conducting magnets. UNIT III Electrical properties: Free electron theory of drude and Lorentz - weidmann- Franz law Distinction between conductors, Semi conductors and insulators on the basic of band theory Factors affecting the resistivity of a conductor: Temperature, Alloying, Pressure, Strain, Magnetic field and environment. UNIT IV Semi conducting materials: Intrinsic, Extrinsic semiconductors - Material preparation: Czochralski method - Zone refining. Hall Effect in semi conductor - applications. Physics of PN junction diode - Junction transistor. Dielectrics : Permittivity - Dielectric constant - Dielectric polarization - - Types of polarization - Break down mechanisms. UNIT V Magnetic properties : Ferro magnetism: Dornine theory - Hysteresis - Hard and soft magnetic materials - Curie - - Weiss law - Magnetossniction. Ferrites : Preparation, Properties, Applications - Magnetic bubble memory. REFERENCE BOOKS: 1. Brijal and Subramanian, Optics, Chand and co 1995. 2. V. Raghvan, Material science and engineering, a first course, prentice hail of India 1991. 3. M.R. Srinivasan, Physics for engineers, New age international pvt ltd publications, 1996. 4. Seth and Gupta, Course in electrical engineering materi3ls, Dhanpat Rai and Sons, 1990. 5. M. Arumugam, Material science, new age international pvt ltd publications, 1996.


Laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Lasers are basically optical sources that produce light radiations with high degree of intensity and coherence (monochromaticity and directionality) Each of these characteristics that are not normally found in ordinary light makes laser a unique & the most powerful tool. Lasers find a wide variety of applications in the field of scientific research, engineering & medicine.
According to Einstein the interaction of radiation with certain matter involves three basic processes:

Incident photons

Excited atoms > > emitted photon

E1 Stimulated absorption

> spontaneous emission


Incident photon emitted photon

stimulated emission

Stimulated absorption: When an electromagnetic radiation of frequency is incident on a sample of atoms, the electrons in the lower energy state (E1) absorb the energy from the incident radiation & rise to the higher energy state (E2). This process is called stimulated absorption. Spontaneous emission: The atoms excited to higher energy state are unstable there. Their life time in these states is of the order of 10 8s. The electrons in these states spontaneously make transition to lower energy states emitting a photon whose energy h is the difference between the two energy states E2 and E1 i.e, E2-E1
This type of transition of an electron from a higher to a lower energy state without any outside stimulus is called spontaneous emission. The photons so emitted are in random phases and random directions.

Stimulated emission: When a photon of energy h = E2 1 is incident on E an atom which is already in an excited stateE2, the atom being disturbed or stimulated by the incident photon, makes a transition to a lower energy state E1 emitting a photon. The emitted photon has the same frequency, phase & direction as the incident photon. This type of emission is called stimulated emission. The net effect is two identical photons in the place of one thereby increasing the intensity of the incident beam. It is this process of stimulated emission that makes possible the amplification of light in lasers.

Metastable Energy Level

Metastable states: The time interval that corresponds to 0.5 probability of transition of atoms from the excited state is called the half life of the excited state. In the visible region, the half-life of an atomic transition is 10-8 s. Those energy states, where the atomic transitions have a much longer half life (10-3 s) are called metastable states. Existence of metastable state is necessary for achieving population Inversion.

(Fig. 4) An electron excited to level A will stay much longer (say 10 4 sec) compared to a normal energy level where an electron typically stays for 10-8 sec (provided there is no external perturbation, stimulated emission can occur immediately).

IV. Population Inversion Consider some atoms (or molecules) in space as shown in the diagram below.

(Fig. 5) When there are more atoms with an electron in level A, we say that there is population inversion.

Essential components of a laser The laser device basically consists of three elements.
A pump An active medium A cavity resonator or an optical cavity.

Pump: is an external energy source that pumps sufficiently high energy to excite the atoms / molecules to higher energy states & produce population inversion a necessary condition for stimulated emission. Pumps can be optical, electrical, chemical or thermal.

(i) Optical pumping: uses light energy for excitation. This is the only practical method of pumping the atoms in solid & liquid laser medium. Eg. Ruby laser uses xenon flash lamp.

(ii) Electrical discharge: a) Collision of First kind (electron-atom collision). When a current of electrons is passed through the lasing gas medium, the conduction electrons collide with a large number of atoms, ions or molecules

& raise them to the excited states.e+x x*+e. Such a process is called a collision of First kind. This method is preferred in gaseous lasers which contain one gas species. Argon laser uses this technique. (b) Collision of second kind (Inelastic atom-atom collision): In some lasers, the laser atoms are directly excited to the desired states by means of inelastic collisions between the atoms or molecules. A mixture of two different gas species of atoms A & B is used in which the excited energy states of A* & B* coincide. Energy may be transferred from the excited state of (say) A to the other B through inelastic collision between A* & B symbolically represented as A* + B A + B*- E. This method of transfer of energy is called resonant transfer or collision of second kind.. Helium-neon laser, CO2 are notable examples using this technique of pumping.

(iii) In semiconductor lasers the electrical energy is used to pump electron from valence band to conduction band. (iv) Chemical reaction in certain materials leaves the atoms in the excited states. Eg. dye lasers

2. Active medium: An active medium is a lasing medium which may be a solid, or a liquid or a gas with atleast 3 energy levels as follows.
a) a ground state Eg b) a high energy pump state EP in which the excited electrons remain

for only a short period (~10 ns) c) an intermediate level E1 in which the excited electrons remain for a relatively longer time (~ms). Such energy states with relatively long life time are called metastable states.

high energy state



Metastable state


lasing transition

ground state


The most important requirement of an active medium is to support population inversion between two energy levels involved in lasing transition. For achieving population inversion, the energy absorption must occur for a transition different from the transition undergoing stimulated emission. This shows that, atleast a 3-level system is required for lasing action. Generally the lasers are named after the lasing medium used. For example, ruby laser, He-Ne laser, CO2 laser, Nd-YAG laser, argon laser and so on. It is the active medium that decides the wavelength of the laser emitted. Laser action has been observed in over half of the elements known, with the range of available wavelengths extending from ultraviolet to infrared region. Gases as active medium alone give rise to more than 1000 transitions. Two of the mostly used transitions in gases are 632.8nm visible radiation from neon & 10.6 m infrared radiation from CO2 molecule. Though the active medium should have atleast 3 energy levels there are active media with 4-levels In a 3-level laser, the lasing transition terminates at the ground state. At least one half of the ground state atoms will have to be pumped to the higher state in order to start the lasing action. Therefore it requires high pumping power. Generally 3-level lasers operate in pulsed mode.

In a 4-level system there is a fourth level E2 above the ground state. The laser transition does not terminate at the ground state but terminates at E2. Since E2 decays fast into the ground state, the population inversion can be maintained continuously between E1 & E2. Moderate pumping is sufficient to maintain this. Generally A 4-level lasers operate in continuous mode. EP
Pump state


non radiative transition


metastable state


Lasing transition

non radiative

fast decaying level



ground state


In same lasers the amplifying medium consists of two parts, the laser host medium and the laser atoms. For example hos of the Nd: YAG laser is a crystal of yittrium, aluminium, garnet (Commonly called YAG) laser is a crystal of atoms are the trivalent neodymium ions. In gas lasers consisting of mixture of gases, the distinction between host and laser atoms is generally not made. In ruby laser Al2O3 is hot molecule while Cr+3 ions are lasing ions. Cavity resonator: is an optical feedback device that directs the photons back & forth through the active medium so as to maintain saturation intensity within the medium.


partial reflector

L=n /2

The back and forth reflections at the two optically plane mirrors, placed parallel to each other at the two ends of the laser tube, make the emitted photons travel through the active medium several times. Those excited atoms that are not triggered first time are triggered in the subsequent passage. This ensures that all the excited atoms of the active medium participate in the stimulated emission enhancing the lasing action. Further, resonance occurs for those waves that exactly fit into the length L of the laser tube. i.e., the tube length is such that L=n /2where n is a integral number known as longitudinal mode number. For a given length L of the tube more than one wave length will fit into the tube and laser is called multimodal. The absorption of energy being maximum under resonance condition, laser beam of maximum amplitude is produced. Types of lasers

Based on the active medium being solid, liquid or gas, lasers are classified as solid laser, liquid lasers and gas lasers. Based on the gain of the medium lasers are classified as low density gain and high density gain lasers based on kind of output, lasers are classified as pulsed or continuous wave (CW) lasers. Examples : (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Ruby laser, solid high gain pulsed laser Neodymium laser, solid high gain operating in continuous wave mode (CW) Semiconductor lasers, solid state, high gain. Dye lasers: liquid high gain, operates both in pulsed and continuous wave.

[Note:In contrast to solid lasers the liquid lasers do not crack or shatter. They can be made in unlimited sizes]


Helium neon laser an atomic gas laser, low gain CW mode continuous or pulsed mode is an ion laser. (vi) Carbon dioxide laser molecular gas lowgain, CW mode power>200kW emitting at 10.6 m is an example. (vii) Excimer laser:- noble gas halides, (XeF, KrF, ArF) low gain, pulsed. (viii) Argon ion gaseous, low gain, CW.

Ruby Laser

Ruby is a crystal of aluminium oxide (Al2 O3) doped with chromium oxide (Cr2 O3) in 0.05% concentration. Al & O2 are inert atoms & chromium is the active medium

ruby rod helical flash lamp

Highly polished mirror

pulsed high voltage

partially silvered mirror

It consists of a cylindrical rod of ruby a few mm in diameter & a few cm in length with its ends perfectly flat & parallel to each other. One end is highly polished to act as mirror, while the other end is partially silvered to make it partially transmitting to get the laser out put. The crystal is surrounded by a flash lamp connected to a pulsed high voltage source. The flash lamp is a helical quartz tube with xenon enclosed in it. The rod is protected from the

heat produced by the intense pulse each time, through a cold-water circulation system. Working
3 level energy system of chromium in ruby crystal

Pumping state

non radiative transition pumping 694.3 nm


metastable sate

Lasing transition

An intense flash of light from the flash lamp excites a large number of chromium ions into the energy state EP. Some of the excited electrons make transition to the intermediate metastable state E1, through non-radiative transition. The energy released as heat in this process will be dissipated into the lattice. A large population of electrons accumulates in this level resulting in population inversion between Eg & E1.

The first chromium ion that makes a spontaneous downward transition to from E1to Eg radiates a photon that triggers the other excited chromium atoms in F1 resulting in lasing action. The ruby laser emerges as a pulse, lasting as long as the excited atoms remain available in the metastable state. When the excited atoms become depleted, the lasing action ends & has to be started again by another flash.

The back & forth reflections at the end surfaces make the photon travel through the ruby rod several times. The excited chromium atoms that were not triggered first time are triggered in the subsequent passage of the photon. This ensures that almost all the excited chromium atoms participate in the stimulated emission enhancing the lasing action. The ruby rod acts as a resonant cavity for those waves that exactly fit into the length of the rod L integral number of time half a wavelength. (L=n /2) Since the ruby laser is a 3 level laser, the lasing transition terminates at the ground state resulting in a pulsed output.

Helium-Neon Laser

The heliumneon laser is an example of the 4-level gas laser that produces a continuous output of laser. The active medium is the neon. The helium atoms serve as a pumping medium.

Power supply

Quartz tube

Partially silvered mirror Fully silvered mirror Electrodes polarised

laser beam

Brewsters window

Construction: It consists of a glass or a quartz discharge tube about 1 cm in diameter & 0.5 m in length filled with helium at 1mm pressure & neon at 0.1mm pressure. The tube windows are set at Brewsters angle to allow only the linearly polarized light parallel to the plane of incidence to participate in stimulated emission & to reflect away from the cavity those components of light oscillating perpendicular to the plane of incidence. Two optically plane mirrors are placed at the two ends. One mirror is fully silvered to reflect 100

% light while the other is partially silvered ( slightly transmitting.


95% reflectivity) to make it

A source of high voltage (~1kV) across the electrodes sends a current of electrons through the tube. These electrons collide with the helium atoms as they are present in large number & excite them to the 2s level. Since the 2s level in helium is a metastable state, the excited atoms remain there for a long time. The 5s level in neon has almost the same energy as the 2s level in helium.
Energy level diagram
20.66eV 20.61eV

laser transition 632.8 nm

spontaneous transition 3s spontaneous transition 1S Helium ground state Neon 2p

Under such a condition, the helium atoms in the excited state transfer their energy to the neon atoms in the ground state by a process called resonant transfer of energy. This

transfer of energy will excite the neon atoms to the 5s state & de excite the helium atoms back to the ground state. This can be symbolically represented as

Helium* + neon

helium + neon*

An inverted population occurs at the 5s metastable state relative to the 3p state of neon. An occasionally emitted photon from 5s level causes stimulated emission of other atoms. The mirrors at the two ends help in building up an intense coherent beam as the light bounces back & forth repeatedly.

The stimulated transition from 5s to 3p level results in a laser beam of wavelength 632.8 nm. There are other transitions that give rise to laser beam in IR region. Eventually the atoms from the 3p level come down to the ground state 2p through an intermediate state 3s by a quick spontaneous transition. This maintains the population inversion between the 5s & 3p levels providing a continuous supply of laser. If the length of the discharge tube is adjusted to be equal to n /2, laser beam of maximum amplitude is produced. Though the helium atoms are present in greater number than the active atoms neon, they do not take part directly in laser transition. The fairly light helium atoms can be easily pumped up to their excited states. Without them it is not possible to directly excite neon atoms so efficiently to the required energy state.
Applications of Laser: The applications of laser are based on their special properties such as high intensity, directionality & monochromaticity . Scientific: 1. Used in investigating the basic laws of interaction of atoms & molecules with electromagnetic wave of high intensity. 2. Used as source of monochromatic & coherent beam in the study of interference. 3. Measurement of distances & velocity of mobile objects to a high degree of accuracy. 4. Used as sources of light in optical fibers

Engineering: Due to its high intensity & directionality laser is used for 1. drilling fine holes with precision. 2. accurate welding of fine wires. 3. cutting & shaping the materials including diamonds with ease & efficiency. 4. cutting & sealing of ampules, nipples of feeding bottles. used in holography, printing.

Holography is a technique of recording the amplitude & the phase of the light reflected from objects. This helps in storing the 3-D information.

Medical applications : Laser is used in medicine as diagnostic & therapeutic instrument. Laser can cut, rupture, open, vapourise, weld, seal, cauterize, coagulate& heal human tissue. It is the most advanced surgical tool.
UNIT II SUPERCONDUCTOR The Meissner effect The second defining characteristic of a superconducting material is much less obvious than its zero electrical resistance. It was over 20 years after the discovery of superconductivity that Meissner and Ochsenfeld published a paper describing this second characteristic. They discovered that when a magnetic field is applied to a sample of tin, say, in the superconducting state, the applied field is excluded, so that B = 0 throughout its interior. This property of the superconducting state is known as the Meissner effect. The exclusion of the magnetic field from a superconductor takes place regardless of whether the sample becomes superconducting before or after the external magnetic field is applied. In the steady state, the external magnetic field is cancelled in the interior of the superconductor by opposing magnetic fields produced by a steady screening current that flows on the surface of the superconductor. It is important to recognise that the exclusion of the magnetic field from inside a superconductor cannot be predicted by applying Maxwell's equations to a material that has zero electrical resistance. We shall refer to a material that has zero resistance but does not exhibit the Meissner effect as a perfect conductor, and we shall show that a superconductor has additional properties besides those that can be predicted from its zero resistance. Consider first the behaviour of a perfect conductor. We showed in the previous subsection that the flux enclosed by a continuous path through zero resistance material a perfect conductor remains constant, and this must be true for any path within the material, whatever its size or orientation. This means that the magnetic field throughout the material must remain constant, that is, B/t = 0. The consequences of this are shown in Figure 10 parts (a) and (b).

The Meissner effect.

A comparison of the response of a perfect conductor, (a) and (b), and a superconductor, (c) and (d), to an applied magnetic field. In part (a) of this figure, a perfect conductor is cooled in zero magnetic field to below the temperature at which its resistance becomes zero. When a magnetic field is applied, screening currents are induced in the surface to maintain the field at zero within the material, and when the field is removed, the field within the material stays at zero. In contrast, part (b) shows that cooling a perfect conductor to below its critical temperature in a uniform magnetic field leads to a situation where the uniform field is maintained within the material. If the applied field is then removed, the field within the conductor remains uniform, and continuity of magnetic field lines means there is a field in the region around the perfect conductor. Clearly, the magnetisation state of the perfect conductor depends not just on temperature and magnetic field, but also on the previous history of the material. Contrast this with the behaviour of a superconductor, shown in Figure 10 parts (c) and (d). Whether a material is cooled below its superconducting critical temperature in zero field, (c), or in a finite field, (d), the magnetic field within a superconducting material is always zero. The magnetic field is always expelled from a superconductor. This is achieved spontaneously by producing currents on the surface of the superconductor. The direction of the currents is such as to create a magnetic field that exactly cancels the applied field in the superconductor. It is this active exclusion of magnetic field the Meissner effect that distinguishes a superconductor from a perfect conductor, a material that merely has zero resistance. Thus we can regard zero resistance and zero magnetic field as the two key characteristics of superconductivity. Perfect diamagnetism Diamagnetism is due to currents induced in atomic orbitals by an applied magnetic field. The induced currents produce a magnetisation within the diamagnetic material that opposes the applied field, and the magnetisation disappears when the applied field is removed. However, this effect is very small: the magnetisation generally reduces the applied field by less than one part in 105 within the material. In diamagnetic material, B = 0H, with the relative permeability slightly less than unity. Superconductors take the diamagnetic effect to the extreme, since in a superconductor the field B is zero the field is completely screened from the interior of the material. Thus the relative permeability of a superconductor is zero.

2.4 Critical magnetic field An important characteristic of a superconductor is that its normal resistance is restored if a sufficiently large magnetic field is applied. The nature of this transition to the normal state depends on the shape of the superconductor and the orientation of the magnetic field, and it is also different for pure elements and for alloys. In this subsection we describe the behaviour in the simplest situation; we shall discuss other more complex behaviour in Section 4. If an increasing magnetic field is applied parallel to a long thin cylinder of tin at a constant temperature below the critical temperature, then the cylinder will make a transition from the superconducting state to the normal state when the field reaches a well-defined strength. This field at which the superconductivity is destroyed is known as the critical magnetic field strength, Bc. If the field is reduced, with the temperature held constant, the tin cylinder returns to the superconducting state at the same critical field strength Bc. Experiments indicate that the critical magnetic field strength depends on temperature, and the form of this temperature dependence is shown in Figure 11 for several elements. At very low temperatures, the critical field strength is essentially independent of temperature, but as the temperature increases, the critical field strength drops, and becomes zero at the critical temperature. At temperatures just below the critical temperature it requires only a very small magnetic field to destroy the superconductivity.

The discovery of superconductors

The phenomenon of superconductivity, in which the electrical resistance of certain materials completely vanishes at low temperatures, is one of the most interesting and sophisticated in condensed matter physics. It was first discovered by the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, who was the first to liquefy helium (which boils at 4.2 Kelvin at standard pressure). In 1911 Kamerlingh Onnes and one of his assistants discovered the phenomenon of superconductivity while studying the resistance of metals at low temperatures. They studied mercury because very pure samples could easily be prepared by distillation. The historic measurement of superconductivity in mercury is shown in Figure 1. As in many other metals, the electrical resistance of mercury decreased steadily upon cooling, but dropped suddenly at 4.2 K, and became undetectably small. Soon after this discovery, many other elemental metals were found to exhibit zero resistance when their temperatures were lowered below a certain characteristic temperature of the material, called the critical temperature, Tc, some of which are given in Figure 2.