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Applications of Lasers

9/10/2013 7:02:16 PM | by The Green Book

Lasers

Laser is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are electronic devices that emit light. What makes lasers different from devices such as torch lights is that the light lasers emit – laser light - is very different from the usual kinds of light. Laser light is monochromatic (it only has one color), coherent (all the photons in the light move at the same speed) and it is directional (the beam is tight, strong and concentrated). There are many complicated and advanced physics concepts behind laser light, but this article will focus on the many different uses of lasers.

 

There are a wide range of uses for lasers, ranging from simple, everyday things like a laser printer or for astounding medical uses like laser eye surgery. The use of the laser depends on the power output of the laser. Lasers can be dangerous and even low powered lasers can cause damage to the eye when it hit directly by the beam or the reflection of it. Lasers are given safety class numbers that determine their danger and those in the higher classes (3B-4) can cause immediate damage to the eye and skin. Safety equipment such as special goggles and clothing should be worn when dealing with such lasers.

 

Industrial and Commercial Uses.

 

Lasers are used in material processing and micro-material processing. In material processing, lasers with an average optical power above 1 kilowatt are used to process industrial materials, through a wide range of processes, such as cutting, welding or drilling.

 

In micro-material processing, the average optical power of the lasers used is below one kilowatt and they are used in the production of things such as screens for smartphones, tablets and LED TVs.

 

Because the laser light travels straight, lasers are now used in construction to level floors or paint walls, or as a pointer in a classroom or lecture.

 

Lasers are used commercially in areas such as telecommunications or electronic devices as transmitters. They are also used to store data in optical discs and retrieve it. Lasers are used as a form of entertainment as visual effects in things such as concerts, or a laser light show.

 

Medical and Cosmetic Uses

 

In medicine, lasers are used to remove things such as hair, acne and tattoos. This is known as cosmetic surgery. Another common type of surgery involving lasers is LASIK or refractive eye surgery. Lasers can also be used as scalpels and are used to remove tumors in areas where normal surgery would be extremely dangerous, such as the brain or spine. Lasers are also used in soft tissue and oral surgery. The type of laser used depends on the situation that it is used in. For example, lasers in cosmetic surgery include the ruby laser and the pulsed diode ray. One of the lasers used in soft tissue surgery is the CO2 gas laser.

 

Weapons

 

Lasers are used in the military for things such as laser sight, where a laser is used to aim, and communications. Weapons that harness the energy of lasers are known as Directed Energy Weapons. There have been many attempts to build these kinds of weapons over the years and can be used to shoot down things such as missiles and airplanes and destroy targets. Lasers are used in defense systems to detect and destroy missiles. The use of lasers in weaponry can be devastating. Under certain conditions, even low powered lasers could cause permanent blindness and weapons that cause this have been banned by the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons.

 

When lasers were first invented in the 1960s they were called ‘a solution looking for a problem’. Over the years, lasers have proved themselves to be extremely useful and are used in a vast range of industries nowadays. Lasers are a kind of technology that can be life-changing. It’s up to mankind to decide whether that change will be for the better.

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