Term of Award

Fall 1986

Degree Name

Master of Technology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Keith F. Hickman

Committee Member 1

Donald C. Whaley

Committee Member 2

Earl R. Andrews


The summer of 1960 saw the world's first demonstration of an entirely new source of light, so concentrated and powerful that it could produce power densities millions of times as intense as those on the surface of the sun, yet be controlled so precisely that surgeons could use it to perform delicate operations on the human eye. The beam from this device could burn holes in steel plates and set carbon on fire. It spreads out so little that if sent from the earth to the moon, it would illuminate an area of the moon's surface less than two miles in diameter. This new device is the laser.

Simply stated, the laser is a beam of light. The light from a house light spreads in all directions in a number of various frequencies and waves. The very fact that light does travel in waves led to the development of the laser, which concentrates the waves of light into light beams of tremendous energy.

Originally developed by the use of ruby crystals, lasers are now produced by many solid materials, liquids, gases, and semiconductor devices.

The laser is one of the most important developments of modern science and is used extensively in medicine, by the armed forces, and in every facet of industry where precise measurements are needed. Hundreds of new applications are being proposed and developed by engineers and scientists, and new uses appear unlimited in scope.

Since lasers have such a large area of actual and potential application, a knowledge of lasers and related devices is important to a wide range of persons. Many nations are developing their technology in order to provide a higher standard of living for the people of the country. Due to this rapid growth, the people of these countries should be well trained in the many occupations which require technical knowledge and skill.

Laser welding is a skill that can be acquired in different ways. A number of manufacturers train their employees in laser welding, a time-consuming and costly process. There are manufacturers of laser welding equipment that offer training courses with their systems, but of course they specialize in their own equipment. A better way to learn these skills is through a college or vocational-technical school. Since many schools already include arc welding in their curriculum, the transition to incorporate laser welding should be smooth and desirable.


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