Diffraction-free beams having a large depth of focus are of great merit in laser-based processes in which light-matter interaction is to occur in an extended region along the beam path. We have investigated two kinds of processes that use a diffraction-free beam known as a zero-order Bessel beam: 1) Laser-drilling metal films coated on a substrate to make pinholes therein using nanosecond laser pulses at 532 nm. Given an uneven surface of the substrate, the beam irradiation point, or the process point, would be displaced from a right position. By using the Bessel beams holes ~2 mm in diameter can be formed despite the displacement of ~2 mm or more. 2) Laser-exposing bulk glass to form modifications inside using femtosecond laser pulses at 800 nm. The pulses must be temporally stretched to save their energy from being used up because of multi-photon absorption. The Bessel pulses can modify through glasses ~3 mm thick in a width of <5 mm. We have developed a new set of formulas to calculate the Bessel fields, which are generated by diffractive optical elements. The elements are designed to convert a Gaussian beam efficiently into an approximate form of the zero-order Bessel beam and are fabricated on fused quartz by direct laser writing and reactive-ion etching.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.