And I'm not sure if making the laser interface more complex is a good idea, I personally think the current IC2 implementation of item modes is simple and effective. One idea I think is interesting is splitting the laser functionality: for instance, in addition to the current laser, there could be a destructive laser (explosive, scatter, and long-range only), a digging laser (horizontal, mining, and low-focus modes only), and a heat gun (super-heat mode only, and maybe a bit more energy efficient).
Well that is actually a very nice idea!
Laser Gun (explosive, scattered, long-range)
Mining Laser (horizontal, mining, low-tange)
And about heat mode I think it's useless, kinda...