University of Edinburgh

BSL Physics Glossary - laser - definition

Laser is a very concentrated form of light. The light is also of one particular wavelength. It is used in a wide variety of areas - laser in CD/DVD writer, less powerful one in CD or DVD player. Lasers are used in several applications in medicine.

They are used in surgery - extreme heating in a very small piece of tissue. It will seal blood vessels, on a tumour to cause it to vaporise. Doctors use Neodynmium-YAG laser to vaporise tumours that obstruct the flow of air to lungs and also in oesophagus.
A laser is used a scalpel - carbon dioxide - which is totally absorbed in the first 1/10th of a millimetre of tissue - suitable for use as a laser scalpel - no damage to areas under the skin.
Argon laser is used for eye surgery; eg, diabetes, short sight, port wine birth marks, tattoos,

Lasers are also used to make holograms.