Taking a Closer Look at the World of Lasers

Back in the late 1950s, a physicist and engineer named Theodore H. Maiman was busy at work carrying on the research of his predecessors at Hughes Research Laboratories. They all believed channeling light through various media could create enough energy to cut through almost anything. In 1960, he proved the theory to be reality, and light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation was born. It’s known as the laser these days, and it’s perfect for numerous applications.

How Do Lasers Work?

First off, in order to create a laser beam, an electrical current, atoms and either gases, glasses or crystals are required. The electrical current is sent through atoms trapped in those glasses, crystals or gases and sends their electrons into a hyperactive state. This briefly changes the electrons’ positions in the atom before sending them back to their original arrangement.

When they return to their previous location, they generate highly powerful and concentrated particles of light. Those particles, or photons as they’re known in the scientific world, are capable of slicing through even the hardest materials like they’re nothing more than warm butter. Of course, that’s the basic rundown. Far more science lies behind the design and operation.

Which Types of Lasers Are Used for Cutting?

Numerous types of lasers have been created since the first was built during the 1960s. Different ones are used for various purposes, but three main types are typically used in cutting: neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet, neodymium and CO2. CO2 lasers are often used for engraving or cutting and boring certain materials. Neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet, or Nd-YAG, lasers are usually for boring and engraving materials requiring high levels of power. Nd lasers work best for smaller applications.

Which Types of Materials Can Lasers Be Used on?

A Boss laser or other model can be used with virtually any type of material depending on the type and how much power it generates. Outside the laboratories and operating rooms of the world, they’re often used on acrylics, plastics, wood, metal and glass to name a few. From construction and crafting to welding and manufacturing, their potential uses are endless.

Sizable machines were once needed to create lasers, and they were highly limited to certain industrial applications. Now, they’re much more compact and diverse with models being available for small businesses, home-based workshops and countless other situations.