The use of a CO2 laser as a heat source became commercially available for optical fiber splicing and component fabrication only in recent years. In addition to long-term trouble-free and low-maintenance heat source operation, laser fusion splicing offers unique benefits for fabricating high-power optical components, as well as for splice reliability. When used as the heating method for fiber splicing, the energy of the CO2 laser beam is efficiently absorbed by the outer layer of the glass, and is then conducted inwards. This heating method is well controlled, and results in a smooth and contamination-free glass surface. Other heating methods, such as arc fusion or resistive heating, may leave tungsten, graphite, or metal oxide deposits on the spliced fiber surface. By contrast, with CO2 laser splicing, the lack of surface irregularities and contamination enables remarkable spliced-fiber strength results, with some strength results nearly within the range of coated fiber breaking strength.