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New Applications of Laser Technology

Laser Technology








Just a few decades ago lasers were, for the most part, relegated to science fiction novels. These days, lasers are everywhere – in our computers, our carpentry tools, and even children’s toys.  Every day it seems, scientists and engineers are finding new ways to put these concentrated beams of light to work. Today, we’ll take a look at a few of the most exciting new advances in laser technology.

Water Repellent Materials

A team of scientists of the University of Rochester recently developed a technique to create “hydrophobic” surfaces by bombarding sheets of metal with laser pulses. These laser augmented metals absorb light but repel water better than Teflon. Likewise, scientists hope to use the materials to create self-cleaning solar panels. They could also be used to create highly efficient water collection devices. As potable water becomes harder and harder to access, this technology has the potential to become enormously valuable.

Eco-Friendly Welding

Using laser devices to weld materials together has the potential to be far more effective and efficient than using conventional welding mediums such as acetylene gas or electric arcs. Laser welding tools could also be used to join different kinds of metal, such as copper to stainless steel or aluminum. Laser welders could even protect ship hulls from corrosion by coating them with thin layers of steel powder.

Tearing Holes in Spacetime

In 2011, a team of British scientists with a predilection for dreaming up doomsday devices began work on a laser designed to blast holes through the fabric of space time. When (and if) it’s completed, it will be the most powerful laser in the world. According to The Telegraph, the laser will “produce 200 petawatts of power – more than 100,000 times the power of the world’s combined electricity production – for less than a trillionth of a second.” Scientists hope that by tearing holes in spacetime they will be able to observe particles never seen before, ushering in a new frontier of experimental physics.

Lasers are more accessible, and more useful than ever. At Jamieson Laser, we employ this state of the art technology to cut model components and create precise, detailed etchings and engravings. Check out some of our work here! Give us a call today and learn more about all the ways to use your Jamieson Laser machine.



Checking Air Turbulence with Lasers

clear air turbulance
We talk often about how laser technology is used for laser marking and laser cutting. The technology behind those machines allows for laser marking and cutting to be done on a wide range of materials, almost always with clean, precise results. They are examples of the wide-ranging impact laser technology has on our lives.

Now laser technology is being used in hopes of making air travel a little smoother. Heavy clear-air turbulence can cause quite a disruption for flights. Clear-air turbulence comes during times of perfect visibility, making it harder for pilots to detect. It also cannot be picked up by conventional radar.

Researchers in Europe are working in a device that would predict clear-air turbulence in enough time to allow fliers to prepare. The device uses a light detection and ranging instrument, affixed to the plane, which sends shortwave ultraviolet laser radiation along the flight path. The device measures the light scattered back by the molecules in the air ahead. This allows the instrument to determine the density of the atmosphere. Any changes in air density could signal clear-air turbulence as far as 20 miles ahead.

The device was tested over a four-week period last summer, on a Cessna aircraft. Researchers cautioned however, that the summer tends to be the mildest time for clear-air turbulence events.

Still, it’s important to remember that laser technology is being used in a device that is designed to improve air travel safety. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, during the past ten years more than one-hundred airline passengers have been injured in airline turbulence incidents.

The device is not on airlines yet. Researchers say it remains in the testing phase and airlines are waiting to see if the device would cost effective. It remains to be seen when, or if, this example of laser technology ends up being used on flights.



Why the Need for Laser Marking is Growing

jamieson laser machine

There was a time when lasers were just part of science fiction. Most people could not relate to lasers in a practical way. Lasers were something out of Star Wars. It was unrealistic for lasers to be part of everyday life.

Obviously that’s changed in the last few decades. It’s hard to keep track of all the ways lasers are in our day-to-day lives.

Laser marking, cutting and engraving were something that had to be done by a big company. The material would have to be shipped out to some remote location. The reality probably wasn’t that dramatic but laser engraving seemed like an unrealistic task for many people.

Nowadays, laser cutting and engraving can be done in smaller shops or by people who’ve bought a laser engraving machine and have been properly trained to use the machine.

Laser cutting has become a huge part of manufacturing. Companies that cannot afford laser technology are turning to laser shops. Companies know that such shops have the equipment and experience to handle precision machining. Laser cutting and marking shops can help with product identification, anti-counterfeiting protection, permanent marking, adhesive labels and customizing industrial and consumer products.

More laser job shops are upgrading to fiber technology. Laser shops that used to use more traditional cutting methods are now using fiber laser. These lasers can be used in laser cutting and in the areas of welding, marking and engraving.

Many companies turn to laser shops for laser cutting and marking. The laser machines currently on the market have made it possible to produce permanent, non-contact marking on a variety of materials. The jobs are also done in a fast amount of time.

Companies that offer high-precision laser marking and engraving machines will likely thrive in the current industrial climate. The need for laser marking and engraving will continue to grow.



From Laser Cutting to Nuclear Fusion

laser nuclear fusion

In the world of laser cutting and laser engraving, the end process is clearly defined. At the end of a laser engraving job, the finished product is clean and precise and clear for all to see.

Lasers and laser technology are having an impact on a field where the results are often far less tangible. Scientists in California say they’ve made a breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology, and laser technology played a part in the breakthrough.

The goal in nuclear fusion is to achieve ignition. So what does that mean? It’s a lot different than starting your car. Ignition in nuclear fusion mean the amount of energy released via fusion is greater than or equal to the amount of energy expended to confine fusion reaction. However, scientists have to make sure the nuclear fusion reaction generates enough energy to exceed the amount of energy that is deposited into the fuel used in the reaction.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California were recently able to conduct nuclear fusion experiment where the fuel gains were greater than one. This result is apparently the first of its kind. To jumpstart the fusion reaction, scientists used 192 lasers aimed at a small capsule holding deuterium and tritium. Those materials are needed to fuel the reaction. They are both stable isotopes of hydrogen. Once the multiple laser beams hit and heat the capsule, the nuclei of the deuterium and the tritium atoms fuse. Scientists say a neutron and an “alpha particle” are produced in this process and energy is released.

The lead author of the experiment and study says there more to be done and that there are physics problems that need to be addressed before the project is completed. This is another example where the power of lasers can help unlock doors in the world of science.



Laser Investing

laser cutting
Is it time to invest in laser stock? According to at least one financial analyst, the answer is “yes”.

We talk a lot here about all the things lasers and laser technology bring to our lives. Jamieson Laser has been in the laser business since 1988. Laser engraving, marking and cutting have come a long way in the years that followed. Laser technology is constantly growing. That means the value of laser stocks may rise.

The point of this investment article is that very little happens in the current high-tech climate that does not involve laser technology. Lasers are involved in precision manufacturing, precision munitions and precision medical imaging.

The investment analyst in the article points out that the word laser is actually an acronym that stands for “light amplification by stimulated emissions of radiation”. That’s a nice piece of information but it has nothing to do with investing in laser technology. Nowadays everyone has a decent handle on what lasers are and a pretty good ideas about the things lasers do.

The point of the article still stands: The laser industry is booming. When factoring in all applications, the industry was worth more than $6.3 billion in 2010. Those numbers should continue to climb. By 2018, laser use in some areas of the medical industry is expected to account for more than two billion dollars per year.

So many of our everyday devices use laser technology. We are talking about things like DVD players (they’re still around), TV remotes, cell phones and printers. Of course, laser technology is also used in military applications and throughout the medical field. The same types of industrial lasers used to cut steel at automotive plants can be recalibrated to burn through wood and plastic.

Of course, it’s up to each individual investor to do the homework and determine if it’s the right investment.



Looking at all Laser Cutting Angles

laser angle
The advantages of laser cutting systems are well-known. The clean, precise job of a laser cutter or laser engraving machine cannot be matched.

There are questions about the ability of laser cutting systems to cut at a slant or angle. One German laser cutting company is now looking at all angles. The company has constructed a laser that is configured to meet material surfaces at a 90-degree angle. The company says it is also possible to install diverse tools which allow for a significant extension of the machine’s range. This allows the laser machine to create slanting cutting edges.

The company says material can be cut at a 45 degree angle with a tool positioned at a slanted angle. This means a wedge can be cut out. The wedge also enables material to be bent into a 90 degree angle. The outer top layer of the material remains untouched. This allows a flawless outer edge to be created.

Some materials, like acrylics, can be furnished with a v-groove and a special cartridge. This allows laser cutting machines to work with slanted surfaces on the workplace edges. The materials typically used in this process are sandwich boards, solid board, lightweight foam board, acrylic and wood.

The German company typically uses this process for commercial use for things like exhibition stands, promotional displays and store construction.

We are reminded of how laser technology is always growing and how it affects laser cutting and laser engraving systems. Laser engraving, laser cutting and laser marking can still be done on all sorts of materials. This includes metal and non-metal materials like wood, cardboard, plastics, leather and others. These materials can be engraved, marked and cut. It’s always important to check with a licensed laser cutting provider. Certain laser machines work best with certain materials.



Laser Cutting and the Stars

The technology used in laser cutting and laser engraving makes it possible for laser engraving to be done on a variety of materials. The engraving can be done fast and leaves a clean, precise finish.

Now laser cutting is being used to gain a greater understanding of what happens in the skies above earth.


Scottish researchers are using laser technology to take a close look at space and how telescopes are used. Large telescopes are in development right now that will have apertures much greater than telescopes currently being used.

However, the bigger the telescope, the more light that needs to be analyzed. This can cause an overload for the sensors on a telescope. Another problem is that when telescopes become bigger, the equipment becomes bigger as well, to the point where it becomes unmanageable.

This is where laser technology and photonic lanterns may well be able to make a difference. Photonics work like an integrated circuit with electrons flowing through metal, except the metals are replaced by glass and the electrons are replaced by photons, which are individual particles of light.

A photonic lantern is a glass circuit which can give a new look at the stars and provide different looks at what happens in space.

In Scotland, researchers are using a powerful laser to cut channels in a sliver of glass to create a photonic lantern. The laser produces infra-red light invisible to the naked eye. Researchers say that by moving the piece of glass through the laser focus, they are able to manage optical circuits that “guide light in an analogous way to the way in which electrical wires guide electrons”.

The technology uses an ultra-short pulse that last just one million-millionth of a second.

One researcher went on to say that the technology allows them to “break away from the constraints that conventional optics present.” The technology may come into play when new, larger telescopes are used in the next decade.



Looking Ahead at Lasers

laser tube

We know that lasers are going to be a part of many growth industries. They already are. As we head into 2014, there are several indications that laser technology and the use of lasers is going to continue to grow.

We are hearing from industry experts who say greater power and shorter pulse widths will soon be a part of laser technology. New advances could mean more efficient laser manufacturing with less waste. We could also see laser systems that consume less energy. So many industries and fields are looking for ways to improve energy efficiency. Why should the laser industry be any different?

Lasers are already fast and they are getting faster. It’s happening quite a bit in the world of commercial lasers. Ultrashort-pulse-width lasers are lasers that produce repeated light bursts. The bursts result in clean, precise cuts. This type of laser has many uses, such as the German auto supplier who can drill precise holes into a direct-injection valve for a gasoline engine. This allows for more efficient engine combustion and fuel savings.

Improvement in laser power and efficiency will prove to be beneficial for many industries. One example cited by experts is in the aerospace engine industry. There are studies that say significant savings in weight and material are possible. There is also the possibility that fuel efficiency will be improved.

We know how laser engraving and laser marking can save time and deliver truly special results. There is no reason why the laser cutting and laser engraving industry will not continue to grow. Laser cutters and engravers can work with a wide variety of materials. We are talking about metal materials like gold, silver, platinum, titanium and brass. Non-materials like wood, plastics and cardboard can also be used with laser cutters and engravers.

Watching the growth of lasers this year should be interesting. One can only wonder what we’ll be talking about at the beginning of 2015.



Laser Technology & Jewelry

We know how laser cutting and engraving machines have added to the precision and look of jewelry. State-of-the-art laser engraving can do wonderful things for jewelry.

Laser cutting and laser engraving machines are great tools for the micro-processing of precious metals. Laser cutting and laser engraving allows new settings to be designed. They can also reproduce facsimiles of handwritten words or messages. Specific fonts can be produced to give a piece of jewelry a truly personal feel.

Laser cutting and engraving machines can work with all types of material. Precious metals such as gold, platinum stainless steel, brass, titanium, copper and silver can all be used in the engraving process. One thing to remember is that the different properties of each metal make the laser cutting and engraving process unique for each metal. The good news is that laser engraving is a process that is abrasion-resistant.

Different types of jewelry can feature different designs, all thanks to laser cutting and engraving technology. Custom markings and engravings can be done on the inside of rings. Multi-line text can also be inscribed on the inside of rings. Jewelry pieces can be copyrighted, custom-branded and serialized. Laser engraving can be used to personalize other types of jewelry as well, things like watches, lockets, bracelets and charms. Laser cutting and engraving allows for custom designs and messages on jewelry that just weren’t available years ago. pendants

This technology also allows jewelers greater room for creativity when designing jewelry. Laser technology also allows jewelers to re-tip platinum or gold-prong settings.

Laser technology also allows for faster engraving time. The beam of a laser engraver vaporizes materials to a programmable depth. Such exact precision produces items with stunning clarity and sharp, distinct details. Laser cutting allows jewelers to produce items that have very fine detail and polished edges.



New Laser Technology in 2013

As we say hello to 2014, it’s exciting to think about where laser technology is now and where it might be headed in the future.

south africa digital laser
This is also a good time to look back at the year that just ended. 2013 was a year that saw growth and development in the laser industry.

In February of 2013, physicists in Africa were able to build and develop the first laser with a beam that can be controlled and shaped diagonally.

Physicists usually change the shape of a laser by placing various kinds of beam-shaping devices in front of the laser. These devices can include things like mirrors, lenses and digital holograms generated using spatial light modulators. A spatial light modulator imposes some form of spatially varying modulation on a beam of light. A spatial light modulator usually modifies the intensity of the light beam.

Physicists at a university in South Africa found a better way. Instead of putting a spatial light modulator in front of the laser, the physicists built a device and then built a spatial light modulator inside the device. It then acts as the mirror at one end of the cavity. This helps the spatial light modulator shape the beam as it is being amplified.

This means that the beam is already shaped in the required way when it emerges from the laser cavity. This also means the spatial light modulator generates the pattern electronically. The beam shape can be changed without time-consuming setup required with other methods.

The device is called a digital laser because the beam can be shaped electronically with a computer.

It will be interesting to watch the growth and progression of laser technology. Perhaps new technology will have a positive impact of the laser cutting and laser engraving machine industry. There are currently so many uses for these machines right now. It will be exciting to see what they can do in the future.



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