Laboratory of Oscillations (Soviet Union)

Interviewed by
Arthur Guenther
Interview date
Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, Russia

Beginning of studies in molecular spectroscopy at Moscow Institute of Physics (MIFI) (1948). Invitation to Lebedev Institute (FIAN) by Mikhail Aleksandrovic Leontovich, head of the lab and MIFI theoretical physics department. Early radio spectroscopy work there with Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov using synchrotron. Inadequacy of low sensitivity equipment leading to development of maser-laser technology. Use of CsF molecule to solve problem of increasing the resolution of microwave frequency region. First indications of success reported at Conference on Radiospectroscopy, USSR Academy of Sciences, 1952 and first publication in field of quantum electronics with Prokhorov. Laboratory of Oscillations study of self excitation in a beam resonator system. Work atmosphere at FIAN. Basov’s work during World War II, 1941—1945. 1946, student at Moscow Institute of Physics. In 1948 joined Lebedev Physical Institute. Comments on relationship of Soviet politics and physics work. Comparison of American and Soviet science. Meeting with American scientists working in same area; comparison of their work with his. Colleagues working on semi conductor laser problems. Funding of laser programs. Scientific developments parallel with Maiman’s ruby laser. Development of three-level maser. Diversification of laser technology in USA and Russia. Current laser research; history of laser development at Lebedev; prize winners in laser technology. Work atmosphere in newly developed Laboratory of Quantum Radiophysics. Applications of laser; research using modern spectroscopic methods; investigations on the properties of coherent radiation.