Nikolay Basov was a Nobel Laureate and Soviet physicist who made significant contributions to quantum electrodynamics and optical physics. He is most known for his groundbreaking work in the field of quantum electronics, which led to the development of maser-laser oscillators and amplifiers. Basov, one of the founding fathers of quantum electronics, spent most of his career studying how to excite atoms or molecules to enhance electromagnetic radiation. Aleksandr Prokhorov, his collaborator, explored microwave spectroscopy of gases. The team combined their efforts by amplifying microwave photons using a gas-filled chamber with reflectors on both ends. The maser was created by converting excited ammonia molecules into a molecular beam using this molecular oscillator. Basov used a similar method in light spectrum to lay down the foundations of laser in 1962. He was given the coveted Nobel Prize in Physics for this breakthrough discovery based on the maser-laser concept, which he shared with Aleksandr Prokhorov and Charles H Townes, who did comparable work independently.
Childhood and Adolescence
Nikolay Basov was born on December 14, 1922, to Gennady Fedorovich Basov and Zinaida Andreevna Molchanova in the tiny village of Usman near Voronezh. His father worked as a professor at the Voronezh Forest Institute, where he spent his life studying the effects of forest belts on subsurface water and surface drainage.
Basov received his academic training at Voronezh when he was a young man. He graduated from high school in 1941 and was drafted into the military, serving at the Kuibyshev Military Medical Academy. In 1943, he graduated from the academy as a military doctor’s assistant and joined the Red Army, serving in the 1st Ukrainian Front throughout WWII.
Basov was discharged from the army in December 1945. He went on to study theoretical and experimental physics at the Moscow Institute of Physical Engineers. In 1950, he received his diploma from the same institution. He was a postgraduate student at the Moscow Institute of Physical Engineers from 1950 to 1953. At the same time, he was a professor in the department of solid-state physics at the Institute.
He also worked on his thesis at the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, where he was supervised by Professors M.A. Leontovich and A.M. Prochorov. His friendship with Prokhorov lasted a long time.
Career of Nikolay Basov
Basov started working in the subject of quantum radiophysics in 1952. Basov attempted to develop and manufacture oscillators both conceptually and empirically. In 1953, he successfully defended his Candidate of Sciences dissertation, which is the equivalent of a PhD. Three years later, in 1956, he completed a Doctor of Sciences dissertation on the topic of “A Molecular Oscillator.” His study synthesized theoretical and practical research into the production of a molecular oscillator using an ammonia beam.
Basov formed a group to study the frequency stability of molecular oscillators in 1955, with the help of his students and partners. They investigated the relationship between oscillator frequency and various parameters for a series of ammonia spectral lines.
Basov’s group looked into ways to improve frequency stability, make slow molecules, investigate the operation of oscillators with resonators in series, achieve phase stabilization of klystron frequency, study transition processes in molecular oscillators, and design an oscillator using a deuterium ammonia beam.
Basov began working on the design and manufacturing of optical quantum oscillators in 1957. He researched the conditions for producing states with a negative temperature in semiconductors with B.M Vul and Yu.M Popov the next year, and recommended using a pulse breakdown for that purpose.
Basov devised three ways for achieving negative temperature states in semiconductors in the presence of direct and indirect transitions in 1961. In 1963, semiconductor lasers based on gallium arsenide crystals were developed as a result of this study.
Basov conducted theoretical and experimental studies in the realm of strong lasers in addition to his work on quantum oscillators. High-power single-pulse Nd-glass lasers were developed as a result of his research. Basov began working in the field of optoelectronics in 1963. He began researching the radiation of condensed rare gases under the influence of a strong electron beam in 1966. He and his associates created a number of fast-operating logic components based on diode lasers in 1967. He was the first to produce laser emission in the vacuum ultraviolet spectrum in 1970.
Basov not only worked in the fields of quantum electrodynamics and optical physics, but he also made significant contributions to the field of chemical lasers. In 1970, he led the development of an original chemical laser that worked at atmospheric pressure on a combination of deuterium, fluorine, and carbon dioxide. Basov gave experimental evidence for the activation of chemical processes by infrared laser light near the end of the talk.
In 1970, he designed and tested an elion technique of gas laser excitation (electrical pumping of ionized compressed gases). Basov and his collaborators produced a significant increase in the power of the gas laser volume unit using this technology for a CO2 and N2 combination compressed to 25 atm, compared to usual low pressure CO2 lasers.
Basov had a number of academic posts in addition to his studies. He was appointed to the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute as a professor. From 1973 to 1988, he was the Director of the Lebedev Physical Institute (LPI). Until his death in 2001, he was the head of the LPI’s quantum radiophysics laboratory.
Major Projects of Nikolay Basov
Basov’s most notable work was a study suggesting the feasibility of a molecular generator of coherent microwave radiation, which he co-authored with Aleksandr Prokhorov in the 1950s. The concept was based on the action of atoms emitting radiation when they are excited. The equipment that was utilized for this was known as maser. The team used masers and lasers to create focused and coherent microwave and light beams, respectively.
Achievements & Awards
Basov and Prokhorov were awarded the prestigious Lenin Prize in 1959 for their work on molecular oscillators and paramagnetic amplifiers. Basov, Charles Hard Townes, and Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 for their contributions to quantum electronics, which led to the development of maser-laser oscillators and amplifiers.
In 1962, he was chosen as a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and in 1966, he was promoted to Full Member. He was elected to the Academy’s Presidium in 1967 and served as a councillor of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences from 1990. He was given the title of Hero of Socialist Labour in 1970. He was a member of the International Academy of Science in Munich and served as its Honorary President.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1950, Nikolay Basov married Ksenia Tikhonovna Basova. She, too, was a scientist who worked at the Moscow Institute of Physical Engineers’ Department of General Physics. Gennady and Dmitry, the couple’s two sons, were born to them. At the age of 78, he passed away on July 1, 2001, in Moscow, Russia.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Nikolay Basov is not available.