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Fritz Peter Schäfer (15 January 1931 – 25 April 2011) was a German physicist, born in Hersfeld, Hesse-Nassau. He is the co-inventor of the organic dye laser.[1][2] His book, Dye Lasers, is considered a classic in the field of tunable lasers. In this book the chapter written by Schäfer gives an ample and insightful exposition on organic laser dye molecules in addition to a description on the physics of telescopic,[3] and multiple-pism,[4] tunable narrow-linewidth laser oscillators.

In their original experiment Schäfer and colleagues[5] employed a ruby laser to optically excite various infrared organic dyes. These dyes emitted laser radiation in the 731-835 nm range. Schäfer et al. achieved high power outputs at a bandwidth of approximately 10 nm. Schäfer also experimented with laser dyes in the vapor phase under optical excitation.[6]

In addition to his pioneering work on the dye laser, Schäfer also made important contributions to femtosecond lasers[7][8] and the application of these lasers in plasma physics.[9][10]

Schäfer was Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen.


  1. ^ F. P. Schäfer (Ed.), Dye Lasers 2nd Edition (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1990).
  2. ^ F. J. Duarte and L. W. Hillman (Eds.), Dye Laser Principles (Academic, New York, 1990).
  3. ^ T. W. Hänsch, Repetitively pulsed tunable dye laser for high resolution spectroscopy, Appl. Opt. 11, 895-898 (1972).
  4. ^ F. J. Duarte and J. A. Piper, A double-prism beam expander for pulsed dye lasers, Opt. Commun. 35, 100-104 (1980).
  5. ^ F. P. Schäfer, W. Schmidt, J. Volze, Organic dye solution laser, Appl. Phys. Lett. 9, 306-309 (1966).
  6. ^ B. Steyer and F. P. Schäfer, A vapor phase dye laser, Opt. Commun. 10, 219-220 (1974).
  7. ^ S. Szatmári, F.P. Schäfer, E. Müller-Horscheb and W. Müchenheim, Hybrid dye-excimer laser system for the generation of 80 fs, 900 GW pulses at 248 nm, Opt. Commun. 63, 305-309 (1987).
  8. ^ S. Szatmári and F.P. Schäfer, Simplified laser system for the generation of 60 fs pulses at 248 nm, Opt. Commun. 68, 196-202 (1988).
  9. ^ R. Fedosejevs, R. Ottmann, R. Sigel, G. Kühnle, S. Szatmari, and F. P. Schäfer, Absorption of femtosecond laser pulses in high-density plasma, Phys. Rev. Lett. 64, 1250-1253 (1990).
  10. ^ U. Teubner, J. Bergmann, B. van Wonterghem, F. P. Schäfer, and R. Sauerbrey, Angle-dependent x-ray emission and resonance absorption in a laser-produced plasma generated by a high intensity ultrashort pulse, Phys. Rev. Lett. 70, 794–797 (1993).