A laser was a beam of focused energy operating under the same principles as blaster weaponry. Energy-rich gas would be converted to a glowing particle beam.
A basic laser was a stream of photons moving at the speed of light, as seen in laser trip wires. In contrast, laser weapons were projectile weapons, firing concentrated bolts of gas ionized by lasers[source?] (hence the name laser). Depending on the hardness and density of the target's surface and the intensity of these bolts, the resulting impact could melt through targets, create explosions and even disintegrate objects.
The type of gas dictated the bolts' color and qualities. The most common color was red because of its cheaper tibanna gas from Bespin. Green bolts were produced from a higher-quality gas, thus costing more. Blue bolts used ion-based charges for more effectiveness against electronic and mechanical targets, such as droids. Orange bolts were low powered and used more in training.
Throughout the galaxy, lasers were most often employed in the form of laser cannons. Another laser weapon was the DLT-18 laser rifle. The primary weapon of the Death Star was an exceedingly powerful superlaser capable of obliterating an entire planet. A superlaser was also employed on its successor.