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News » Lasers: From Mathematical Theory to Total Practicality

Lasers: From Mathematical Theory to Total Practicality


July 7, 2017


We are always looking for new ways to invest in cutting edge technology that we can use to make our marking systems more productive and effective for our customers. But we thought you might appreciate a look back in time to see how the science behind our current line of laser marking products evolved. It’s an amazing story of how a theoretical experiment developed into a remarkably practical tool that is now found everywhere in industry and our daily lives.

What Exactly is a Laser?

A laser is a machine that makes an amplified, single-color source of light. The beam does not get wider or weaker as most sources of light do. Mirrors are used to amplify the single color and make all the light travel in one direction, so it stays in a narrow beam instead of spreading out like a flashlight. Kind of like a garden hose when you switch from fine spray to a concentrated stream. When pointed at something, this narrow beam makes a single point of light.

Where Did They Come From?

Albert Einstein was the first person to have the idea of stimulated light emission in 1917, but it was not until 1959 that the term “laser” was used in a research paper. It originated as an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” The first working laser was put together and operated by Theodore Maiman at the Hughes Research Laboratories in 1960.

What Are They Used For?

howalaserworksWhen lasers were invented, there wasn’t really an application for them. The first use of lasers in people’s daily lives was the supermarket barcode scanner, introduced in 1974. The laserdisc player, introduced in 1978, was the first successful consumer product to include a laser, but the compact disc player was the first laser-equipped device to become common, beginning in 1982. It was followed shortly by laser printers.

The Growth of Laser Applications

Today, lasers are everywhere! Among their many applications, lasers are used in fiber-optic communication; laser surgery and skin treatments; cutting and welding materials; devices for measuring range and speed; laser lighting displays in entertainment and even laser pointers. Of course, our favorite application is the use of lasers for marking.

Laser Marking

A laser marking system is a non-contact form of engraving that is permanent but easy on delicate parts. It is commonly used for part identification and product traceability information such as serial numbers, date codes, 2D data matrix, barcodes, manufacturing codes, material flow, graphics, logos and more.

If you would like to learn more about lasers and how they can add value to your operation, please contact us.