SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 16 -- The growth of the global laser system market to $3.8 billion in 1998 was due in large part to diode laser systems, according to a report from market researcher Frost & Sullivan. The report predicts that increased demand from the recovering Asian markets will drive the worldwide rate of growth for the laser system market to 11.5 percent in 1999.Diode laser systems comprise the fastest growing segment of the laser system market, generating about half of the revenues for laser systems. Frost & Sullivan reported that the communications industry -- the largest end-user segment of diode lasers -- exhibited particularly strong demand for diode lasers. These lasers are being used in a widening range of applications, thanks to their relatively low price, small size, and fiber beam delivery. The Frost & Sullivan report noted that many low-power material processing applications that once used CO2 and solid-state lasers have begun to use diode lasers.