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In the years since its discovery and early development in the 1960's, the laser has found increasing acceptance as a production tool. Its unique features, Which allow for the rapid delivery of precisely controlled amounts of energy with high spatial accuracy to a work surface, have made it the instrument of choice over competing technologies for many applications. In some instances, "doing it" by laser is the only way, especially in the semiconductor industry where the miniaturizing effects of very large scale integration (VLSI) demand the ability to process material on a microscopic scale. In this paper, a physical basis for the success of the laser as a micro-materials processing tool will be established. Several applications from the electronics and semiconductor industries will then be discussed. The paper will conclude with a little-known application in the diamond industry.