Well John Ion has gone and done it. ‘It’ being the writing of an excellent book, “Laser Processing of Engineering Materials” (Elsevier -Butterworth- Heinemann, Oxford, UK and Burlington, MA). Not to take away from Ion’s work, but countless others, this reviewer included, have been approached to write a text on laser material processing that could be used by both undergraduate students and others interested in this the largest of commercial laser applications. And for the most part we have turned publishers down because of the sheer magnitude and difficulty of the task. To undertake it would require fantastic resources and unlimited time, factors that mitigated the undertaking by many of us.
But Ion persisted and the result is a nice piece of work that is both enlightening and useful. It took him more than 550 pages to do it but his volume is a first-class review of laser technology and the many material processing applications that this technology serves so admirably. I applaud Ion for a neat summary that serves as an introduction to laser material processing and an interesting history of the technology.
Chapters 3-17 follow the traditional outline used in other books on laser material processing except that Ion uses a more basic tutorial approach coupled with many practical examples and he ends each chapter with a very useful bibliography. And, finally, appendices include a needed glossary, designations for metal and alloys, properties of materials, analytical equations, and standards.
All in all John Ion has done a remarkable job of compiling useful information into a text that’s both educational and instructional, plus it reads well. I strongly recommend this book to those who are contemplating a serious involvement with lasers for material processing. You don’t have to be an undergraduate to get great value from this book. - DAB