The exact year that the first optical laser was invented is disputed, but it is generally agreed that it was either 1958 or 1960. Gordon Gould of Columbia University built the first laser in 1958, but the technology was not patented until 1960 by Theodore Maiman of Hughes Laboratories.
Several variations on the light laser followed quickly on the heels of its initial development. In 1960 Ali Javam invented a gas laser that was capable of converting helium neon into laser light beams. In 1962 Robert Hall invented the semiconductor injection laser that was small enough to fit into conventional electronics and is still used in many appliances available today.