The word laser originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The word light in this phrase is used in the broader sense, referring to electromagnetic radiation of any frequency, not just that in the visible spectrum. Hence there are infrared lasers, ultraviolet lasers, X-ray lasers, etc. Because the microwave equivalent of the laser, the maser, was developed first, devices that emit microwave and radio frequencies are usually called masers. In early literature, particularly from researchers at Bell Telephone Laboratories, the laser was often called the optical maser. This usage has since become uncommon, and as of 1998 even Bell Labs uses the term laser. When lasers were invented in 1960, they were called "a solution looking for a problem". Since then, they have become ubiquitous, finding utility in thousands of highly varied applications in every section of modern society, including consumer electronics, information technology, science, medicine, industry, law enforcement, entertainment, and the military. The first application of lasers visible in the daily lives of the general population was the supermarket barcode scanner, introduced in 1974. The laserdisc player, introduced in 1978, was the first successful consumer product to include a laser, but the compact disc player was the first laser-equipped device to become truly common in consumers' homes, beginning in 1982, followed shortly by laser printers.
Some of the other applications include:
▪ Medicine: Bloodless surgery, laser healing, surgical treatment, kidney stone treatment ▪ Cosmetic surgery (removing tattoos, scars, stretch marks, sunspots, wrinkles, birthmarks, and hairs): see laser hair removal. ▪ Eye surgery and refractive surgery
▪ Soft tissue surgery
▪ Laser scalpel (General surgery, gynecological, urology, laparoscopic) ▪ Dental procedures
▪ Photobiomodulation (i.e. laser therapy)
▪ "No-Touch" removal of tumors, especially...