Since laser was developed in the 1960s, it has improved human lives in many ways. The same monochromatic light that can cut through the toughest of surfaces can somehow also be the favorite chasing toy of your cat—provided that you use the low-powered version, of course. There are a many technologies today used by ordinary people that employ the power of lasers. But before we dive into that, let us first understand what it is.
What Is a Laser?
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification. To create one, electrons in atoms in special glasses, crystals or gases, absorb energy from an electrical current (or another laser) and become “ecstatic.” It is very different from the ordinary light wave because lasers are amplified. When this happens, it becomes a beam of concentrated heat,thus making lasers a powerful tool for a number of things.
What Lasers Can Do Today
Thanks to the tenacity and creativity of scientists and engineers who worked on lasers in the past, a lot of everyday equipment and devices today use it to make our lives better. Here are some of the applications:
Lasers of various power levels can be employed to perform different types of laser processing, including barcode identification, laser annealing or sintering, and laser machining or cutting.
Generally speaking, laser-cutting machines use lasers to cut things, whether for domestic, commercial, or industrial applications. There are a lot of materials that are quite thick, and sometimes ordinary tools just won’t do if you are aiming for a particular effect or result that only laser cutting can achieve. Needless to say, the use of laser will make the toughest cutting tasks feel like slicing melted butter. There are three common typesof lasers used for this process:
- CO2 laser: For cutting, boring, and engraving
- Neodymium (Nd): Also used for boring, but with high energy and low repetition (e.g. welding)
- Neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG): For boring and engraving that needs very high power
The evolution of printing has come a long way. Aside from xerography and inkjet printing, we now also enjoy an efficient printing technology known as laser printing. It is a process of electrostatic digital printing that involves generating texts and graphics by having a laser beam pass over a negatively charged cylinder repeatedly. Compared to ink-jet printers, laser printers are much faster and produce higher-quality outputs.
Laser Hair Removals
Lasers have a seat in the beauty industry as well. Laser hair removal technology has gotten so good that many women prefer it over plucking or waxing. It works by killing hair follicles through exposure to laser light. People who undergo this treatment experience a faster, more precise, and longer-lasting hair removal job.
Lasik Eye Surgeries
The Laser-assisted in-situkeratomileusis (LASIK) surgery helps correct the vision of people with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. It is the most common type of refractive surgery and involves the use of an ultraviolet excimer laser to change the shape of the eye’s cornea. It is a good alternative for those who do not want to get eyeglasses or corrective lenses. Though it does use lasers to etch a thin layer of the cornea, LASIK surgery is safe and painless.
Lasers can be employed in many other applications. They can be used for barcode scanning, surveying, communication,and even as an instrument for amazing light shows. Imagine what other things they can be used for in the future.