In early October, Oleksii Kahliak, Acting Head of the Department of Laser Engineering and Physical and Technical Technologies, held the first of a series of open popular science lectures at the invitation of the House of Scientists. The topic of the first lecture was "Laser Technologies: Fiction or Reality". The scientist reviewed popular stereotypes about laser radiation formed by mass culture. Then, after a historical overview, he proceeded to review the latest applications of laser technology and the achievements in this field of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute scientists and the founder of the scientific school of laser technologies at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Honorary Professor Volodymyr Kovalenko.

Laser technologies have entered our lives more widely than we expected. We do not pay attention to the fact that barcodes in any store are read by a laser scanner. Documents are printed by a laser printer, and information in computers is recorded and read using a laser beam. By the way, laser light shows are also popular at discos, not to mention the industrial and scientific use of lasers.

O. Kagliak also spoke in detail about the diverse contribution of world-renowned scientists to the field of laser technology. During the lecture, he even mentioned the developments of Archimedes: he is jokingly called the first laser scientist because, according to legend, he used solar radiation to destroy enemy ships. And although the radiation power density would most likely not be enough to directly set ships on fire and illuminate targets, the version about concentrating the fire of coastal defense vehicles and blinding the crew of ships seems quite real. But be that as it may, this is the first documented use of light as a tool. The lecturer noted that the path of development of laser technology was not easy and had stages of formation. The theoretical principles of forced radiation were postulated by Albert Einstein in 1917, and it took almost half a century for the first laser installation to be constructed. O. Kagliak emphasized that the possibility of generating forced radiation was first confirmed experimentally in 1947 by the American Willis Lamb. And then there was more. Three years later, the Frenchman Alfred Castler proposed the method of "optical pumping" of the medium, which he managed to put into practice in 1952. The students also learned from the lecturer how in 1953 Charles Townes and his colleagues from Columbia University in New York created the first really working quantum generator - a source of forced electromagnetic radiation. He called it a maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), the device worked on ammonia molecules at ultra-low temperatures and generated a signal in the microwave range. To achieve a similar result in the visible light range, it was necessary to create a resonator to amplify the signal. Leading companies and scientific institutions in the United States worked on the solution, but the 33-year-old physicist Theodore Maiman was the one who succeeded. Despite the authority of Charles Townes, T. Maiman concluded that his theory of using a potassium-based gas system, which was used as a basis by research groups in many scientific institutions, was not progressive. It was T. Maiman who chose a single crystal of synthetic ruby (aluminum oxide with a small admixture of chromium) as the active medium, a spiral xenon lamp as the source of its excitation, and a silver coating of the ends of the single crystal as a resonator. This contributed to the creation of the world's first laser operating in the pulsed mode at a wavelength of 694.3 nanometers (one billionth of a millimeter). An optical quantum generator, or laser, gets its name from the first letters of the English term "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation," or light amplification due to forced radiation.

Today, industry cannot do without lasers: cutting, engraving, strengthening, marking, and a number of additive laser technologies are just a small fraction of the areas and applications of laser technology. Laser systems are also used in the military sphere - as guidance systems for artillery and missile weapons (including the domestic Stugna ATGM). However, guidance systems are the alpha, but not the omega, of the use of this technology in military affairs. To date, systems have been developed where the laser beam is used directly as a weapon to defeat unmanned systems and missiles (in particular, such a system was seen working when the Israeli military repelled missile attacks).

However, laser systems are used not only in the field of material processing or the military industry, but also in medicine, in particular for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes, for bloodless surgery or vision correction. Later, during an interview with a KP correspondent after the lecture, Oleksiy Dmytrovych said that the results of the successful use of laser radiation for nuclear fusion had been made public. Also, Chinese scientists have recently developed a miniature system for atmospheric optical communication (FSO). Using only commercially available fiber optic transceiver modules without an optical amplifier, the researchers achieved a bandwidth of 9.16 Gbps on a 1 km link. FSO has attracted attention for its versatility. Thus, in the event of a line break, it is possible to create a backup channel and quickly establish high-speed wireless communication in remote places and areas where it is difficult to lay fiber. This means that global science in the field of laser technology development is not standing still.

It is known that lectures given by teachers and staff of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the capital's House of Scientists contribute to the popularization of our university. However, today those who are interested in modern technologies know not only about the series of lectures by Oleksiy Kaglyak, Acting Head of the Department of Laser Engineering and Physical and Technical Technologies of the Paton Institute of Chemical Engineering. He is the organizer of tech quests in secondary schools of Sviatoshynskyi district and at the sites of the Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The scientist believes that by organizing such events, it is possible to help schoolchildren in terms of career guidance, and to help students, students of the Junior Academy of Sciences and gifted youth in general to get involved in scientific work, realize their place in this activity, and learn to defend their views as a researcher when writing a paper.

In the era of technological development, information about research is becoming more widespread in the country, interest in scientific research is developing, and scientific and cognitive contacts between lecturers and students are deepening. But this interest needs to be nurtured. "Popular science lectures and tech quests become the basis for promoting the creative activity of the audience interested in discoveries in the scientific field," says Associate Professor Oleksii Kahliak.

However, not only science and pedagogy, but also teaching complex engineering disciplines are a priority for him. Long before the infamous covid epidemic and Russia's large-scale aggression against Ukraine, Oleksiy Kagliak worked as a pro bono coach in the Hopak martial art at the Cossack Knight School. He believes that the Hopak martial art is a way to harmony of spirit, mind and body, so this national sport has no age or physical restrictions and is suitable for both hardened and physically tough people and beginners, and for everyone who is far from sports but wants to improve their health and be in good physical shape. This training provides learning of the technical elements of the Cossack art of fighting "Hopak" and the basics of self-defense. The training process involves a variety of health exercises - from simple "rukhanka" to breathing and energy exercises. Scientist, teacher, lecturer, martial arts trainer - this is the creative portrait of Oleksiy Kaglyak, Acting Head of the Department of Laser Engineering and Physical and Technical Technologies of the E.O. Paton Institute of Chemical Engineering.

Viktor Zadvornov