An apparatus for use in a friction stir operation, such as friction stir welding (FSW) or friction stir processing (FSP). The apparatus may have a rotating tool adapted to be plunged into a material, where the material is susceptible to being softened by heating. The rotating tool may further be adapted to be advanced along a surface of the material. An optical energy generating subsystem may be used to heat a portion of the material using optical energy as the tool is advanced along the material.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.