less than 1 minute read


Materials Processing (co2 And Nd:yag)

Since a laser beam can be focused down to a very small spot of light which can be absorbed very well at the surface of a material (be it metal, plastic, textile, etc.), the material can reach very high temperatures up to 9,032°F (5,000°C) and melt or even vaporize. In factories, laser systems are used to measure parts, inspect them for quality, and label, cut, weld, or resurface materials ranging from plastic film to sheet steel a quarter of an inch thick.

Lasers form the basis of precision-measuring tools called interferometers that can measure distances less than 1/100th the thickness of a human hair, and are as useful on construction sites as in laboratories. Such instruments can be scanned over objects to create images, and are used on highways to identify vehicles automatically, or on NASA spacecraft to map the surface of the Moon and asteroids. In semiconductor manufacturing, ultraviolet lasers provide the exposure source for optical lithography, a technique used to produce computer chips with features as small as one hundred thousandth of an inch (0.25 microns).

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Laser - Background And History to Linear equationLaser - Background And History, How It Works, Stimulated Emission, Oscillation, Solid State Lasers, Gas Lasers - Applications