Lasers are no longer strangers to electronics manufacturing. But the demand for smaller components and higher throughput calls for instruments with more power, faster pulse rates and shorter wavelengths. What started as a niche has become a burgeoning market. Lasers, already a familiar tool to electronics manufacturers, will likely find much broader adoption in the electronics industry in the first decade of the 21st century. This expansion is not fueled simply by increased demand. Evolving applications and manufacturing processes are helping to generate new photonic solutions. Shrinking feature sizes on electronic components, for example, have led to a shift from infrared laser processing tools to ultraviolet. Producing smaller devices is not cost-effective unless manufacturers can also increase throughput. This requires lasers with higher average powers, higher pulse rates and higher continuous-wave (CW) operation. The growth of ultraviolet and high-power lasers will demand more high-power diode pump sources... Meet the author Brian W. Baird is a laser and optics engineer at Electro Scientific Industries Inc. in Portland, Oregon.