It is impossible to imagine everyday living without lasers anymore. Everybody has something to do with laser technologies every day, be it while phoning, watching TV, or surfing in the Internet, where data is transferred via laser diodes and fiber optics, be it while shopping (product labels and scanner cash registers) or while driving. We could mention laser cutting, laser welding, and laser marking in vehicle production, or laser diodes as indicators, in headlights, in traffic lights, etc. Most of the laser (diodes) used are not very powerful and consequently unsuitable for materials processing.
However, the structure of these lasers and how they work does not differ fundamentally from powerful lasers that are used for laser cutting, laser welding, and similar tasks in many areas of industrial production. Here, the laser beam is powerful enough to spontaneously melt and even vaporize the workpiece. Laser cutting is the most frequently used laser method for thermal cutting of steels, stainless steels, aluminum, copper, etc., but also for cutting non-metals such as plastics, wood, paper, textiles, and so on. Laser technology has not only replaced existing methods in welding, it has also opened up entirely new applications, such as welding of tailored blanks. Today, it also plays an important role in surface treatment, hardening, and labeling, as well as in drilling.
Technical gases are often used in practical laser application, be it as laser gases for generating laser radiation or as process gases that support the cutting process or welding process. The specification of type and purity of these gases can significantly influence the economic efficiency of laser facilities and should meet the demands placed on quality in the respective application.