Laser cutting was one of the first applications of laser material processing. Today, laser cutting is the most widespread application among laser material processing besides laser marking. Meanwhile, nearly each material can be cut by means of a laser, in particular since ultra short pulse lasers are available in the power range of up to 100 W. The to be cut material can come with thicknesses from a few microns till tens of millimeters as flat stock or as free form shapes. The paper will concentrate on cutting with high power cw lasers in the near and far IR range. Latest developments in terms of thick plate fusion cutting of metals, in particular the positive impact of dynamic beam shaping, will be discussed. The state of art of laser cutting of thin sheet metal without assist gas will be described as well. In the case of non-metals, latest results of laser cutting of composites like fiber reinforced plastics by using two different wavelengths at the same time are introduced and discussed. First results of cutting by means of a novel green cw laser will be presented. Finally, an outlook of future trends of laser cutting will be given in terms of further process improvements and first steps of process control.

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