The nature of light can be known and understood only through its interactions with matter. A few of the new ways that lasers can extend our knowledge of these interactions are discussed. They include methods for eliminating Doppler broadening from thermal motions in gases, such as saturated absorption and polarization spectroscopy. A convenient digital wavemeter for measuring wavelengths of tunable lasers is described. Complicated absorption spectra can be simplified by using a laser to modify the population or polarization of the chosen lower level.
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