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Photonics Spectra
May 1997
Stalk the Elusive 'Light Bulb' Laser

Stephanie A. Weiss, Senior Editor

The ultimate light source is a flexible device that OEMs could plug into machines that cut steel and aluminum, assay chemical or biological samples, produce printing plates, communicate from satellite to submarines, or investigate the atmosphere. Customers want small, versatile, rugged lasers that are as inexpensive as their older gas or dye lasers.
Diode-pumped solid-state lasers and semiconductor diode lasers are as close as photonics has come to a “light-bulb” laser; thus, they are creeping into older lasers’ scientific, industrial and OEM markets.
Scientists have embraced diode-pumped solid-state laser technology for several years because of its ease of use and efficiency; lifetimes, wavelength availability and cost are still factors that make scientists turn to other sources. In other applications, the technology is also beginning to catch on, especially as prices drop…

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