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The influence of parameters such as laser power, focusing conditions, and travel speed on the laser surface hardening of American Iron and Steel Institute 1045 steel has been investigated in terms of the microstructure and hardness of heat affected zones. Hardening trials were performed with a 500 W neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet laser. Electron and optical microscopy were performed to correlate the hardness, hardness profiles, and microstructures that are achieved during laser surface hardening. A simple approach has been presented, which makes the Green’s functions application easier, to predict the temperature distribution during laser surface hardening. This approach can be used to predict the case depth, which can be achieved by using a given set of laser process parameters. The results obtained by using this approach compare well with the results obtained from a commercial finite element package, Engineering Analysis System.