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Lasers and Light Sources: Making Photons

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2000
All-solid-state lasers improve efficiency and lifetime, but the enabling diode laser technology also begins to encroach.

Photonics Spectra editors

By valuing reliability, efficiency and economy above gadgetry and engineering elegance, the communications, medical and manufacturing markets are changing the laser business.

These customers are generously rewarding laser manufacturers who can share their values while snubbing those who prefer to tinker for more technically appreciative -- but perhaps less cash-rich -- customers.

Meanwhile, investors have begun to expect newly public companies to begin to reflect commercial realities rather than technical hopes and dreams.

In all of this bustle, the semiconductor diode laser has been a blessing to and, possibly, somewhat of a curse upon other laser manufacturers. While it has enabled small, efficient all-solid-state light sources with excellent reliability, it is also now beginning to steal market share from its larger cousins. To be sure, the diode-pumped lasers rule many new applications, but high-brightness diodes are slowly seeping into some areas that experts once thought would be the sole property of diode-pumped lasers.


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