Lasers are photonic devices that emit light through the optical amplification of stimulated emission of electromagnetic waves. The first laser ever built by Theodore Maiman in 1960 was a solid-state laser made of a ruby crystal pumped by a flash lamp. A few year later, the first gas laser (He-Ne) and the the first diode laser based on semiconductor materials were invented. In 1965 the first vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) came into operation. Lasers find applications in disk drives, laser printers, scanners, optical communications, displays, and the fibre based internet to name a few.

In the CNQO group, laser models based on the Maxwell-Bloch equations have been studied theoretically and in simulations since the origin of the group in 1985.

Recent CNQO research has focused on: