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Laser Physicist

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Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

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At a Glance... header image

Works on the construction and application of lasers, their design, and the physics involved in their future development.

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The Work header image

A Laser Physicist’s job involves investigating laser processes by determining what type of laser and laser conditions to use on varying ‘wafers’. Wafers are a thin slice of semiconductor material, such as crystalline silicon, used in electronics for the fabrication of integrated circuits.

Laser Physicists generally carry out work on behalf of manufacturers of computer chips and memory devices. Work involves devising small features such as holes, trenches and slots on device wafers. Laser physicists will work with a team of engineers in a lab environment. They will work together to produce a series of experimental tests to determine the optimum laser conditions for machining a particular customer sample.

The Laser Physicist is responsible for changing parameters such as laser beam size, laser focus, laser repetition frequency, laser wavelength and laser pulse energy in order to determine their optimum working conditions.

Communication with customers is a vital component of this work so regularly writing detailed and complex reports on the results of experiments carried out on lasers is essential.

Employment opportunities for laser physicists are generally in laboratories working on technology for a range of companies including opticians, hospitals, automotive engineers and computer manufacturers and also working with lasers in the area of climate change.

Employment is also possible in research and lecturing at third level.

Tasks and Activities

  • Investigating new laser processes
  • Devising experimental testing on lasers
  • Determining optimum conditions for machining the lasers on a daily basis
  • Assessing laser quality
  • Compiling detailed reports for customers
  • Altering laser specifications in order to cater for particular requirements
  • Perform modelling for a range of laser systems
  • Devise and implement solutions to a variety of complex issues regarding lasers.

Work Activities

Analysing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analysing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skills Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

A problem solving mind and an ability to make decisions are essential qualities for a Laser Physicist.

It is vital to be able to perform independent research on complex technical tasks.

Excellent analytical skills are key in order to undertake detailed research and also to independently anticipate, analyse and advise appropriate actions and implement solutions to highly complex issues.

Advanced written and verbal communication skills necessary to author technical and scientific reports and publications, deliver scientific presentations, and interact with a diverse group.

Creativity is also necessary in order to develop new ideas and modify approaches.

Entry Routesheader image

A background in physics or electrical engineering supports the pursuit of a career as a Laser Physicist.

Postgraduate level study is typically required for entry to the workforce at this ranking.

Relevant degree and postgraduate courses are available from a range of universities and IoTs.

A Ph. D. focused on laser physics or electrical engineering is required to reach a high level post including lecturing in this area.

Last Updated: November, 2014

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Institute of Physics in Ireland
Address: Department of Physics, University of Limerick, Limerick
Tel: (061) 202 290/ (01) 708 3953
Email: Click here
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Organisation: Tyndall National Institute
Address: Lee Maltings Complex, Dyke Parade, Cork City, Ireland
Tel: 021 4904177
Email: Click here
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Organisation: Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 665 1300
Email: Click here
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Organisation: STEPS - Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: (01) 665 1340
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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A day in the life of a Laser Physicist

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This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Physics, Mathematics & Space Science

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