The high peak intensity of ultrafast lasers has allowed a wide variety of applications such as material processing, multiphoton imaging, and several spectroscopic technologies. Because ultrafast lasers are sensitive to the environment and the pulses are broadened by optics, commercial applications seldom use sub-100 fs pulses. This talk will explain how the theoretical concept of coherent control allowed our research group to revolutionize how femtosecond laser pulses are characterized and compressed. With MIIPS (multiphoton intrapulse interference phase scan) we are now able to deliver to the target transform limited pulses with pulse durations as short as 4.6 fs. The performance parameters of more than 16 different commercial lasers systems using MIIPS will be presented. Micromachining, two-photon microscopy, and standoff detection measurements from our group will be used to illustrate advantages realized by consistent delivery of ultrafast pulses through complex focusing optics.© (2009) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.