State of the Art is All-Solid-State
Mark Gitin, Coherent Inc.
Micromachining of medical devices and electronics packaging, permanent "cold" marking of plastics, and microlithography are some of the fastest growing segments of the industrial laser market. For many of these uses, the excimer laser has been the light source of choice.
However, this picture is changing with the development of compact, solid-state ultraviolet lasers with high average power and turnkey reliability. These lasers not only replace excimers in some applications, but their low operating costs and functional simplicity will undoubtedly spur further growth and diversification of the market for UV micromachining and marking.
Among the recent laser developments is a new frequency-tripled diode-pumped solid-state laser that solves some problems (thermal lensing, crystal degradation, diode lifetime, etc.) of previous solid-state devices.