Optics is the physical science that studies the origin and propagation of light, how it changes, what effects it produces, and other phenomena associated with it. This "Optics Timeline" highlights important events and developments in the science of optics from prehistory to the beginning of the 21st century. It also includes related developments in other fields and related milestones in the human worldview.
This was an important step on the way to the development of lasers. For this research, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1966.
Jean Brossel and Kastler
Proposed the " double resonance method ", which combines optical resonance with magnetic resonance.
Russell Morgan, Edward Chamberlain, and John W. Coltman
Their image intensifier in fluoroscopy is now universally used in medical fluoroscopy and in military applications, including night vision.
Holger Moller Hansen
Applies for a Danish patent on fiber-optic imaging in which he proposes cladding glass or plastic fibers with a transparent low-index material. Patent claim is denied because of Hansell patent.
Brian O'Brien (Univ of Rochester)
Suggests to Abraham C. S. Van Heel (Technical Univ of Delft) that applying a transparent cladding around fibers would improve transmission of images through his fiber bundle.
Aleksandr M. Prokharov & N.G. Basov
Created an oscillator based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic waves by the excited molecules of a molecular beam. In the process of developing an ammonia-beam molecular oscillator, Prokhorov formulated the main principles of, and laid the physical foundation for, quantum electronics. This led to Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 shared with C. H. Townes.
Aage N. Bohr and Ben R. Mottelson.
Experimental results confirm theoretical description of nonspherical nucleus by Rainwater (1949). For their work the three scientists were awarded jointly the 1975 Nobel Prize for Physics.
Harold Horace Hopkins
Applies for a grant from the Royal Society to develop bundles of glass fibers for use as an endoscope at Imperial College of Science & Technology.
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his demonstration of the phase contrast method, especially for his invention of the phase contrast microscope," that improves contrast be removing background lighting by phase shifting it, developed in 1938.
Abraham C. S. Van Heel
Publishes first report of clad fiber in Dutch-language weekly De Ingeneur after submitting brief paper to Nature.
Patented the first magnetic computer memory to use a disc instead of a tape for data storage.
Charles H. Townes, James P. Gordon & Herbert J. Zeiger
H. H. Hopkins, N. S. Kapany, and A. C.. S. van Heel
Publish separate papers in Nature. Hopkins and Kapany report imaging bundles of unclad fibers; van Heel reports simple bundles of clad fibers.
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum,"a small shift of energy in two energy levels of the hydrogen atom.
Confocal scanning microscope, which uses point illumination and a pinhole in front of the detector so that the out-of-focus background light is eliminated, improving contrast and resolution.
Charles H. Townes, Arthur L. Schawlow
David Paul Gregg
Chester F. Carlson
Invents a medical imaging device using gamma rays emitted by radioactive isotopes that enables physicians to detect tumors and make diagnoses.
The first photographs of the Far Side of the Moon are taken by Soviet satellite Luna III.
Introduction the term laser in a seminal paper, "The LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation."
Working with Will Hicks, American Optical draws fibers so fine they transmit only a single mode of light. Elias Snitzer recognizes the bibers as single-mode waveguides.