At the beginning of the new millennium, the invention of high-intensity and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) started a revolution in lighting technology. Their unique properties are leading to the replacement of all other light sources in general illumination devices by LEDs. The characteristics of the new LEDs are a high efficiency of electrical energy conversion into light, high reliability, long life, compact size, low cost, color variety, environmental friendliness, ability to be manufactured by very-well-developed semiconductor technologies, etc.
A similar revolution is occurring for laser engineering and technology. Diode lasers are not only replacing other laser types in well-known technologies but also creating new applications. The rapid progress in fiber optics further accelerated the advancement of industrial laser technologies. Optical fibers helped to increase the power delivered by a laser beam for up to several tens of kilowatts, making lighting technologies preferable for industrial applications.
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