Glossary

A

 

Ablation

Laser ablation is the process of removing material from a solid substance. Many different laser types are used, and the technique can be applied to virtually any class of material – metals, semiconductors, glass, ceramics, polymers, wood, stone, tissue, and other biological materials.

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Astronomy Lasers

Lasers have become an essential tool for astronomers, enabling more precise observations of celestial objects. In particular, they make it possible to create better images of distant stars, galaxies, and other celestial objects than previously possible.

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C

 

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is the process of using lasers to cut metals, plastics, dielectrics, and more. A typical laser-cutting machine combines a laser, beam delivery optics, motion hardware to move the part and/or the optics, optional vision system, and integrated control software.

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E

 

Etching

Laser etching is a broad term covering various marking and shallow engraving processes. It is used on products as diverse as auto parts, medical devices, wine barrels, microelectronic components, and tombstones.

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F

 

Fiber Optic Gyroscope

Fiber optic gyroscopes (FOGs) are highly precise and accurate rotation sensors. They are used in navigation and guidance systems in aircraft, spacecraft, ships, and other vehicles. They sense rotation by measuring the interference of laser light traveling within a coil of optical fiber.

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Fiber Sensors

Fiber sensors are used to detect changes in physical, chemical, or biological parameters. Their unique combination of advantageous features has led to their use in fields as diverse as structural monitoring, oil and gas exploration, environmental monitoring, and medical diagnostics.

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Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry uses lasers to count or sort different types of cells and other biological particles. For example, when you get a blood count from your doctor, the analysis is done via flow cytometry. It’s also used in research, pharmaceuticals, and even cattle farming.

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H

 

Holmium Laser

The Ho:YAG (or holmium) laser is a high-power, solid-state, near-infrared source that can be fiber delivered. This makes it a popular tool for surgical applications in urology, orthopedics, gynecology, dentistry, and more.

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L

 

Laser

The word “laser” is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. All lasers convert input energy into light through the process of stimulated emission.

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Laser Cooling

Laser cooling is a technique in atomic physics and quantum optics that can slow down and trap atomic and molecular particles. The method is based on the interaction between light and matter, and it exploits the way in which photons transfer momentum to atoms.

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Laser Pumping

Laser pumping refers to introducing energy into a laser system to produce a population inversion, where there are more atoms or molecules in an excited state than in the ground state. This increases the probability of stimulated emission of light and enables lasing to occur.

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Lithotripsy

Lasers have been used to treat kidney stones since the 1980s because they often deliver better patient outcomes than other methods. The Holmium laser is the current “gold standard” for this process, called laser lithotripsy. But technology continues to advance, and Thulium fiber lasers are now poised to gain acceptance.

Learn more about Laser Lithotripsy

  

M

 

MOPA

A Master Oscillator Power Amplifier (MOPA) is a two-part system used in laser technology. The Master Oscillator (MO), or seed laser, generates a low-power, high-quality "seed" signal with specific characteristics such as wavelength, linewidth, and pulse duration. The Power Amplifier (PA) then significantly boosts the output power of this seed signal, maintaining the original qualities set by the master oscillator.

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Multi-Mode Fibers

Multi-mode (mm) fibers have large optical cores that can carry multiple modes, or paths, of light. Their main applications include telecom and audio/video links. Some specialty optical fibers are also available as mm, e.g., for medical and laser beam delivery tasks.

Learn more about Multi-Mode Fibers

  

O

 

Optical Fibers

Fiber optics are hair-thin strands of glass or plastic that transmit light over distances just like wires carry electricity. They're used extensively in telecommunications, datacomm, laser beam delivery, sensing, medical applications, and more.

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P

 

PCB Depaneling

PCB depaneling refers to the process of removing individual printed circuit boards (PCBs) from a larger panel that was used for simultaneous manufacturing. This process is a crucial step in PCB manufacturing, as PCBs are typically produced in a panel containing multiple boards for efficiency.

Learn more about PCB Depaneling

 

Powell Lens

Powell lenses are optics used to generate a uniform-intensity laser line. They employ a unique cylindrical aspheric surface shape to accomplish this. Powell lenses are used in applications as diverse as machine vision and flow cytometry.

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Pulsed Laser Deposition

Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) is used to deposit a wide variety of thin films onto a broad range of substrates. The high energy and short wavelengths of excimer lasers result in unmatched deposition rates and high-quality films with excellent stoichiometry.

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S

 

Laser Scanning

Laser scanning is just moving a laser beam across a surface – whether it’s to read a product barcode, project a laser light show, or weld an autobody. While conceptually simple, the actual technologies used for laser scanning can be quite sophisticated.

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V

 

VSCEL Array

A VCSEL array is a monolithic (linear or 2D) array of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers. Each VCSEL outputs a circular beam and can be directly modulated at high speed. This makes these devices ideal for both high-speed short-reach datacom and optical sensing.

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Y

 

Ytterbium Laser

Ytterbium lasers offer several advantages over those based on other gain materials. While sometimes created as slab or disk lasers, their main impact is as fiber lasers with ultrafast output for scientific and materials processing applications.

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