When an atom, ion, or molecule capable of lasing is excited to a higher energy level by an electric charge or other means, it will spontaneously emit a photon as it decays to the normal ground state. If that photon passes near another atom of the same frequency which is also at some metastable energy level, the second atom will be stimulated to emit a photon. Both photons will be of the same wavelength, phase, and spatial coherence. Light amplified in this manner is intense, coherent (collimated or parallel), and monochromatic. In short, laser light.