Lasers have become accepted "tools" by a number of industries. Everything from cars to heart pacemakers to greeting cards are now using lasers to cut, drill, clad, heat treat, and weld/join. The market for industrial laser systems is expanding. For the first quarter of 2004 the sales in lasers systems increased 40% to over $120 million1. Some of this increase in sales may be due to the fact that lasers are now considered reliable and have proven to be economical. The primary industrial laser systems today are the CO2 and Nd:YAG (lamp pumped) lasers especially at the higher powers. Both laser designs have evolved in power, beam quality, and reliability. At the same time laser manufacturers have developed methods to decrease the fabrication cost for the lasers. While these improvements have had a major impact on the operating cost of lasers, significant additional improvements do not seem possible in the near future for these lasers. As a result other advances in laser technologies (diode, diode pumped Nd:YAG, disc, and Yb fiber) are being examined.
Paul E. Denney, Proc. SPIE Int. Soc. Opt. Eng. 5706, 1 (2005)
Download the PDF (549K)