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Glossary of laser cutting terms - L

L

Laser

Is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser is a cavity, with mirrors at the ends, filled with material such as crystal, glass, liquid, gas or dye. It is a device that produces an intense beam of light with the unique properties of coherence, collimation and monochromaticity.

Laser Cutting

Manufacturing and fabricating process which uses an industrial laser to cut materials, often metals. Metals able to be cut by the laser cutting process include mild steels, aluminum, stainless steels, aerospace alloys, and coated steels.

Laser Cutting Grade Steels

Types of steels specifically produced by steel manufacturers for laser cutting applications. Laser cutting grade steels have the same strength as standard materials, but contain lower levels of impurities such as silicon and sulphur. These steels can be cut at higher speeds and can be cut to a greater maximum thickness.

Laser Generated Air Contaminants (LGAC)

Cutting with CO2 lasers may produce air contaminants such as smoke, fumes, mists, gases and/or vapors. Some particles may be toxic, mutagenic, and be known carcinogens depending on the material cut.

Laser Oscillation

The buildup of the coherent wave between laser cavity end mirrors. In CW mode, the wave bounding back and forth between mirrors transmits a fraction of its energy on each trip; in pulsed operation, emission happens instantaneously.

Laser Product

A legal term in the U.S. See 21 CFR 1040.10, a laser or laser system or any other product that incorporates or is intended to incorporate a laser or a laser system.

Laser Safety Officer (LSO)

One who has authority to monitor and enforce measures to the control of laser hazards and effect the knowledgeable evaluation and control of laser hazards.

Lens

An optic (either reflective or refractive) that causes rays of light to converge to a point. A lens is the optic used to focus a laser beam on the workpiece. Short focal length lenses provide narrow beam convergence angles, necessary to penetrate thick metal sections. Beam diameter is an important consideration in lens selection. Power density and depth of focus can change with differing beam diameters.

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