A focused beam of light sounds simple enough, but its application is revolutionizing human existence. Here are some industries that greatly benefit from the application of laser technology.
Lasers are, in essence, a focused and condensed beam of light. The name laser actually stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow were the first to theorize about laser possibilities and capabilities. Building on their research, Theodore H. Maiman built the first laser in 1960 at the Hughes Research Laboratories. Since then, lasers have been perfected and diversified to accommodate a variety of tasks and procedures.
Each form of light travels in its own pattern, or wavelength. The range of visible light is usually around 400-700 nanometers. Most visible light is composed of a variety of different light sources moving at varying wavelengths. However, when a laser is created it focuses the light into a narrow beam where all of the streams are traveling at the same exact wavelength, and their peaks synchronize or become “in phase”. Since laser light does not disperse, (spatial coherence), it can travel great distances and concentrate energy on a particular area. This is what allows them to be so powerful.
It would be impossible to list all of the applications and industries that benefit from the use of lasers in this article. However, the range of fields these ingenious inventions impact is quite impressive.
Lasers are used in the medical industry to help perform delicate operations, in the manufacturing industry to enable the precision cutting of metal, stone, diamond, and other materials. Lasers are used in communication devices, bar code scanners, DVD players, and 3D printing. They are also used in weapons and munitions technology, dermatology, and a host of other fields. From the instruments consumers and professionals use every day to breakthrough technology that continues to push the boundaries of modern invention, lasers can be found at nearly every level of it.
The four main types of lasers are gas, dye, semiconductor, and solid state. Since lasers generate a lot of heat while operating they are usually coupled with industrial laser chillers or industrial water chillers to help keep them cool and prevent mechanical damage while being operated.
Coupled with industrial laser chillers, the applications of these ingenious devices are continuing to expand. The technologies of the future will likely have lasers to thank for their own success. From allowing you to watch your favorite movie on DVD, to enabling NASA scientists to map the surfaces of planets, or investigate the chemicals found in rocks on Mars, lasers continue to be an important part of the human existence.