Standard Article

Lasers, Industrial Use of

  1. David M. Roessler1,
  2. Emeritus Professor Wiliam M. Steen2,3

Published Online: 15 OCT 2004

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap196.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Roessler, D. M. and Steen, W. M. 2004. Lasers, Industrial Use of. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    General Motor Research and Development Center, Warren, Michigan, USA

  2. 2

    The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

  3. 3

    The University of Cambridge, Distinguished Research Fellow, Material Science and Metallurgy Department, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 OCT 2004


Lasers are capable of generating large and controllable quantities of optical energy and delivering it at intensities sufficient to produce permanent changes in materials. This new form of industrial energy has led to a wide range of laser-based manufacturing processes, such as cutting, welding, surface treatment, bending, cleaning, rapid prototyping, direct casting, and so on. Although these form the focus of this section, it must be noted that there are many other industrial applications that are not covered here, ranging from communications and compact disc players to medicine and metrology. Although laser-materials processing has developed and grown rapidly in the last few decades, it is still far from being a mature technology. New lasers continue to be developed as do new applications.


  • laser-material processing;
  • welding;
  • cutting;
  • drilling;
  • surface treatment;
  • cleaning;
  • bending;
  • rapid prototyping