What Is a Laser Beam?

laser-beam Credit: Douglas Muth/CC-BY-2.0

A laser beam is a strong, thin, monochromatic, directional ray of electromagnetic energy or radiation inside the visible light spectrum. A laser machine energizes the particles in a laser path, causing movement of the electrons of these particles to a higher orbit; this releases photons and produces a laser beam.

Common uses of laser beams include DVD and CD players, computer mice, optical scanners and laser printers. Industrial applications include constructing buildings, surveying land, welding metal and cutting. In scientific studies, its uses include chemical analysis, laser capture and laser spectroscopy. Medical procedures involve using laser beams for performing heart surgery, eye, cancer and cosmetic operations.