The precision of a laser

How does a laser work? That is a big question. Since I am not a scientist, I will try to answer this in laymen’s terms. Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation. Yeah right. I like LASER better too. The unique factor that laser light has is that it travels in a straight line without diffusing or spreading out as it travels. This is due to the fact that laser light is only one color rather than what we are used to in the light spectrum we see shining down upon us each day.

A rainbow is an example of light being refracted into its parts. Light travels together, but when it hits the moisture or raindrops in the clouds it separates into its different colors. The raindrops act as a prism. White light is all the colors traveling together. If you look at a white sheet of paper what you are actually seeing are all the colors in light being reflected back to your eye. If the paper is black then you are seeing no or very little  light being reflected back to you. This is also why black cars seem hotter… they are actually absorbing more of the lights energy than say… a white car.

For more information, I would like to have you read an excerpt from a Q & A section of the Jefferson Lab web site (full link here: http://education.jlab.org/qa/laser_01.html) by author Brian Kross, Chief Detector Engineer.:

Imagine a race track jammed full of cars all going different speeds. They travel in a bunch until they come to a curve. The cars going faster cannot turn sharply so they go to the outside of the track. The slower cars can turn sharply so they move to the inside of the track. When the cars come out of the curve the cars are arranged from fastest to slowest. The same thing happens with light although it’s the lights energy level or color that separates them. Now imagine that every single car is going exactly the same speed. The cars go into the curve in a line, go through the curve and come out of the curve still in a straight line. That’s how laser light works. It does bend when it hits something, but all the light gets bent the same amount, so the light does not spread out.

So again, a laser generates a light that is rigorously one color. How that is done is both extremely simple and very complex at the same time. A property of electrons (check out Jefferson Lab’s Tour of the Atom) is that, after being excited or energized to a higher than normal state, they will eventually fall back to their original state. The energy that they had at that higher level leaks away as light of a specific color. If we excite a lot of electrons they leak off a lot of light all of one color. We do this a number of ways. A very simple way is to take material that has the right electrons and flash a strong light on it. The electrons in that material will absorb the energy and spit it back out as a single color light. We use devices like mirrors and lenses to get all of the light traveling in the same direction and off it goes in straight line. Since laser light does not scatter very much you usually cannot see it until it hits something.

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What does all that mean for what we do and who we do it? Well, our laser can perform within the thickness of a human hair. The cuts are very precise and the resulting edge on what is cut is very clean. By utilizing laser technology you can achieve far better results on many projects that you can with any other process.

We love short run jobs too. So if you have something you want to test or a prototype of an items you want just a few of, let us know.

 



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