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"Optically pumped" lasersRed, green and blue optically pumped lasers pointing to one another. Traditionally, to generate laser light in an industrial laser, argon gas is excited. Because the photons emitted from the excited atoms are identical in their phase and amplitude, a strong beam of light (rather than scattered luminescence) is generated.
Researchers at MIT came up with optically pumped semiconductor lasers, a way to amplify laser light with a semiconductor and a series of lenses. As a result, the cost and power consumption of lasers has declined, opening up the market. Coherent started getting into optically pumped semiconductor lasers in 2001 and now expects them to generate a significant part of the company's roughly $500 million in annual revenue.