fredag 29 juli 2016

Secret of Laser vs Secret of Piano

There is a connection between the action of a piano as presented in the sequence of posts The Secret of the Piano  and a laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), which is remarkable as an expression of a fundamental resonance phenomenon.

To see the connection we start with the following quote from Principles of Lasers by Orazio Svelto:
  • There is a fundamental difference between spontaneous and stimulated emission processes. 
  • In the case of spontaneous emission, the atoms emit e.m waves that has no definite phase relation with that emitted by another atom... 
  • In the case of stimulated emission, since the process is forced by the incident e.m. wave, the emission of any atom adds in phase to that of the incoming wave...
A laser hus emits coherent light as electromagnetic waves all in-phase, and thereby can transmit intense energy over distance. 

The question is how the emission/radiation can be coordinated so that the e.m. waves from many/all atoms are kept in-phase. Without coordination the emission will become more or less out-of-phase resulting in weak radiation. 

The Secret of the Piano reveals that the emission from the three strings for each note in the middle register, which may have a frequency spread of about half a Herz, are kept in phase by interacting with a common soundboard through a common bridge in a "breathing mode" with the soundboard/bridge vibrating with half a period phase lag with respect to the strings. The breathing mode is initiated when the hammer feeds energy into the strings by a hard hit.

In the breathing mode strings and soundboard act together to generate an outgoing sound from the soundboard fed by energy from the strings, which has a long sustain/duration in time, as the miracle of the piano. 

If we translate the experience from the piano to the laser, we understand that laser emission/radiation is (probably) kept in phase by interaction with a stabilising half a period out-of-phase forcing corresponding to the soundboard, while leaving part of the emission to strong in-phase action on a target.

An alternative to quick hammer initiation is in-phase forcing over time, which requires a switch from input to output by half a period shift of the forcing. 

We are also led to the idea that black body radiation, which is partially coherent, is kept in phase by interaction with a receiver/soundboard. Without receiver/soundboard there will be no radiation. It is thus meaningless to speak about black body radiation into some vacuous nothingness, which is often done based on a fiction of "photon" particles being spitted out from a body even without receiver, as physically meaningless as speaking into the desert.    

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