By now, in spite of the fact that historically the laser is a relatively recent development, almost everyone has heard of them. However; very few people know just what the word laser stands for. The word laser actually is derived from the phrase 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation'.
A Highly Concentrated Beam of Light
In short, a laser a highly concentrated beam of light, in a specific wavelength. Thus; just as with all light a laser can be controlled and redirected using mirrors and lenses. Also a laser, being that it is in fact light, travels at the speed of light.
Lasers Come In Many Intensities
Lasers come in many intensities, depending on the amount of energy that is used to create it. Thus, low powered lasers are commonly used in light shows and for things like gun sights that are perfectly safe to focus on your hand. However; a high powered laser would quickly cut right through your hand.
High Powered Lasers For Cutting
One of the many uses for high powered lasers is cutting. The reasons that lasers make good cutting tools are many. First, they generate no dust like other standard cutters do, so are great for cutting in sterile, dust free working environments.
Lasers Create No Friction
Also lasers work great for cutting contoured surfaces that would be otherwise very difficult to cut with a standard cutting device. Also laser cutters create no friction and require no lubricant or cutting oil. No friction means that no heat is generated that can lead to heat damage in heat sensitive cutting situations.
Laser Surgical Instruments
A laser cutter is also a very precise cutter that removes very little material. In many manufacturing situations the laser cutter is the cutter of choice for this very reason. Laser cutters have also been developed into surgical instruments that can be inserted into very small openings to make discreet cuts in delicate operations.