Common Uses for Lasers

For many, the idea of a laser brings up images of Sci-fi weapons and futuristic technologies, but lasers have many practical uses today that you may not even know about. The term “laser” is actually an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” and is different from other light sources in that its frequency and waveform are identical, and its phase difference is constant. These properties allow lasers to be focused into a very small point, which is the main advantage in its many applications. Although lasers were only invented in 1960, this versatility has made them ubiquitous in many fields, such as optics, manufacturing, and medicine.

Optical Scanners

One application of laser technology you may encounter most frequently is optical scanners. You may encounter these as barcode scanners, a disk drive on a personal computer, or a fax machine. They all work in roughly the same way: a laser is shone on the object to be scanned. The light from the laser bounces off of the object, and a light sensor measures the intensity of light being reflected. It then interprets this as data to determine what the grocery item is, what program to run from the disk, or as an image to be sent by fax.

Laser Engraving

Another fascinating use of lasers is in etching and engraving. Because of the precision of the laser, it can be used to create extremely complex and detailed designs that may be difficult or even impossible with more traditional etching methods. The process is relatively simple: the energy in the laser is converted into heat, which changes the material to create the image. It’s also advantageous to other image-creating techniques that would require inks or physical tools which need to be periodically replaced. There are relatively affordable laser engraving machines on the market for small business or even hobbyist use. Customers review BossLaser favourably, and a small laser engraver may be a good investment for those interested in the craft.

Lasers in Medicine

One of the most revolutionary applications of lasers is in the medical field. The combination of power and precision in lasers has made them indispensable as medical tools in different ways. They can be used in diagnosis as laser-based medical imaging. They are often used in surgery to cut and cauterize soft tissue. In fact, lasers are very commonly used in eye surgery, their precision allowing accurate changes to the small and delicate tissue of the eye. Lasers can even be used to shrink or even destroy tumours as part of certain cancer treatments.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, lasers have many applications that the average person may encounter every day. Since their development just 60 years ago, brilliant innovators have been able to take advantage of their qualities to help humans reach new achievements. Not just limited to a gun in your favourite space opera, lasers are an essential technology in many industries. As innovations in the technologies grow and improve, the many uses can be expected to grow even more in the years to come.

 

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