The History of the Ruby Laser is (Literally) Out of this World

History of the Ruby Laser | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

The History of the Ruby Laser is (Literally) Out of this World

You may have heard of the Ruby Laser, one of the latest esthetic lasers on the market touted for its ability to tackle various skin issues, stop unwanted hair growth, and even remove regrettable tattoos. It’s one of the latest additions to the Spectrum Dermatology suite of lasers, and has quickly become a client favorite. However, what’s also interesting about the Ruby Laser is its out-of-this-world history.

For starters, the Ruby Laser might be a relative newcomer to the world of dermatology, but it was actually one of the first lasers ever created. The very first laser was the maser, created by Theodore Maiman in 1960, but it didn’t take long for Maiman to create the Ruby Laser. Ruby rods are created with aluminum oxide, which is what gives the laser its bright red color. To create the laser, the rod is put between a partially reflecting and fully reflecting mirror, known as the laser cavity.

Next, a flash lamp is used to excite the electrons located inside the chromium atoms. As higher energy levels are achieved, and then lowered, light is emitted. This light bounces around in the laser cavity thanks to the mirrors. However, some light is released through the partially reflecting mirrors, and that is the laser light we see during treatments.

The Ruby Laser was Maiman’s second creation. As a worker at Hughes Research Laboratory in California, his very first article on the laser was rejected by Physical Review Letters. There were a lot of papers on the maser-laser at this time, which used microwave wavelengths, and it’s assumed that Maiman’s paper was just too similar to others the journal received. However, also in 1960, Hughes Research Laboratory publicly announced the Ruby Laser, which kickstarted worries about “death rays.” It wasn’t exactly all positive discourse, but it did get people talking.

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About one decade later, Maiman achieved fame in his field when the Ruby Laser was used to measure the distance between the earth and the moon. The laser used a retro-reflector on the moon’s surface from the Apollo mission to measure the time a pulse required to travel between the earth and the moon. There have never been any “death rays” actually associated with the Ruby Laser or any other laser skin treatment, but the results are dramatic enough to make it seem like there’s some sci-fi magic happening. To learn more about the Ruby Laser and all laser treatments available at Spectrum Dermatology, call 480-948-8400 to schedule an appointment.