ROSENFELD IMAGES LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROSENFELD IMAGES LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Laser cutting. Operator wearing safety glasses observes a carbon dioxide laser cutting a metal component. A laser produces an intense beam of light which can be used to heat objects. Carbon dioxide lasers are efficient and widely used in industry. The word 'laser' is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A carbon dioxide laser consists of a gas cylinder with a mirror at either end. Energy is pumped into this chamber to excite the gas atoms. They are then stimulated by external light to emit their stored energy at a specific frequency. This stimulates more atoms to emit light which is formed into a beam.
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