A few well-known facts about lasers: These ultra-focused beams of light have been used for decades to cut metal cleanly and precisely. In the field of medicine they take the place of sharp surgical scalpels; they are also used in some kinds of medical imaging; and they are a part of today’s advanced optical microscopes. Many of these uses require the light to be focused tightly to a very narrow, highly intense point. One way of cutting cleanly without causing harm to the surrounding area – say, in biological tissue that is easily damaged by excess energy – is to zap the target point with very brief (less than a millionth of a millionth of a second) flashes of highly concentrated laser light.
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