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Lab and Factory Share Lasers

Photonics Spectra
May 2000
The line between scientific and OEM industrial Nd:YAG laser markets is fading – to the benefit of scientific customers.

Ken Bell, Consultant

In the beginning, the development of scientific lasers was stimulated almost entirely by the applications that users could dream up. Over the last three decades, flashlamp-pumped pulsed Nd:YAG laser technology has matured almost fully, and the market is accepting the latest generation of diode-pumped systems.

At the same time, scientific laser users have become more pragmatic. Perhaps forced by funding constraints, these users have adapted off-the-shelf laser technology to suit their needs rather than having it custom-made.

It is fair to say that the line between scientific and industrial lasers has blurred recently. An increasing number of commercial manufacturers of instrumentation for flow visualization, laser ablation, gas analysis and spectroscopy now integrate OEM laser sources into their products. The end product is a scientific instrument, but the laser inside is really an industrial laser that can be expected to perform a job reliably and unobtrusively.

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