Albert Einstein described the laser principle as early as the beginning of the century but it was only in 1960-es that the first commercial usage systems (of very low power) were developed.
In 1970-es systems for metal processing were designed which allowed obtaining a wide range of technical advantages for available and completely new applications. Since then a lot of significant improvements have been made in the laser techniques and it continues a very dynamic development as well as computers.
The sphere of application of laser gases is very wide – they are used in industry, science, medicine and other areas. In gas applications gas mixtures and pure gases are used as resonator gas (laser reaction mass), for purging as well as creating protective or special ambient in the laser operation area. 3 to 6 component mixtures containing carbon dioxide, helium, argon and other gases are often used as resonator gas while pure nitrogen is used as carrier gas and purging gas; pure oxygen is used in laser cutting to accelerate and improve efficiency of the process; nitrogen, argon and helium facilitate creation of inert atmosphere in the processing area preventing oxidation, burning and smoke formation.
Nowadays lasers are used in every sphere of business and private life.
For example, laser fiber-optic techniques are used in telecommunications, shelf life is marked on goods with lasers, lasers are used in scanners, bar-code readers, CD players, remote controls, etc. The power of such lasers required for these applications is very low, much less than is necessary for material processing.
To cut, weld or process metal surfaces lasers of much higher power are required.
The general principle consists in transforming electrical energy in a beam of light of a unique wavelength while generating the beam in a laser resonator, for instance, during processes arising in CO2 lasers. The laser beam is almost parallel facilitating its long distance transmission to the point of use. In the processing area the laser beam focuses in a very little spot generating energy necessary for heating, fusion and even flash evaporation of metals.
The largest area of application of high-power lasers is metal laser cutting, because precision cutting cannot be performed with high cutting speed. Laser welding advantage is a very small joint margin and much less welding deformation in comparison with traditional welding methods.
Laser labeling is used for production codes application to uneven surfaces of different components.
Laser drilling makes it possible to get such a small hole sizes which cannot be achieved by any other method, or otherwise enormous efforts would be required.
Excimer lasers are special. They are used in metal working, ophthalmosurgery, microelectronics and physicotechnical research. Excimer lasers often use so called premix as working medium. It is a combination of inactive gases with fluorine or hydrogen chloride. Usage of premix excludes the need to use gas-mixer which makes working process simpler and faster. Due to the presence of such aggressive components as fluorine and hydrogen chloride, laser gases require to choose gear systems and gas distribution panels made of stainless steel.Regardless of definite application lasers are precise and easy to adjust instruments, working without mechanical contact with raw material. It is incredible, how many new applications appear almost every day due to a rapid development of this industry.