You say USP, I say UFP -- what's going on here?

Recently, while editing a feature article by one of our Editorial Advisors, I questioned his use of USP instead of UFP.

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Recently, while editing a feature article by Industrial Laser Solutions Editorial Advisor Geoff Shannon, I questioned his use of USP [ultrashort-pulse lasers] instead of UFP [ultrafast-pulse lasers], which ILS has mostly used. His response was, "Yes, it's been an ongoing issue for us, too! Personally, I prefer USP, as UFP doesn't really describe the laser correctly from a laypersons or logic standpoint. The key part of the laser is the pulse width, which is not fast in the conventional way of thinking, and ironically these lasers do not process 'fast.'"

So, I sounded out the entire ILS Advisory Board to get a consensus opinion on which term to use in ILS. Ron Schaeffer, my go-to guy for ultrafast laser processing, said, "I always use USP except when I am writing for ILS only because I know it has been preferred by you, Dave. I agree with Geoff that USP probably is more accurate." Thanks, Ron—I thought you might have my back. :)

Kunihiko Washio, who has a voracious appetite for knowledge, tried Google and found more than 38,000 hits for ultrashort-pulse laser and only about 5500 for ultrafast-pulse lasers. He says,"I prefer USP (ultrashort pulse) laser processing."

Tony Hoult responded after polling his colleagues: "USP certainly goes down very well with our guys also." Milton S. F. Lima agreed, saying, "It seems that ultrashort-pulse laser facility or lab is a common designation in the Academy."

Anant Deshpande takes a middle-of-the-road opinion: "Ultrashort-pulse is commonly used, but I believe the author should use whatever is deemed suitable to him." Bo Gu joined the majority with, "Like Ron, I use USP also. And I agree with Geoff on reasons of using USP."

My trusted and valued right-hand Lee Dubay, ILS and Laser Focus World Associate Editor, piped in with "For LFW, we use the term 'ultrafast laser' when referring to USP or UFP." Considering the above, you may want to rethink this, Lee. :)

I checked the questionable source of all knowledge Wikipedia, which states, "An ultrashort-pulse laser is a laser that emits ultrashort pulses of light, generally of the order of femtoseconds to ten picoseconds. They are also known as ultrafast lasers—a misnomer, since the speed of light is constant in a given medium."

So here I stand, humbled and abandoned by my troops. Therefore, I will endeavor to "do the right thing," henceforth using USP where appropriate.

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