Laser 101

considerations-when-marking-metal-with-a-laser

Laser Etching with Scan Head Technology

Scan Head technology is a core piece of industrial lasers. The scan head generally runs along two axes, each powered by a galvanometer, a small and precise motor. They are positioned adjacent to each other, one in the X plane and one in the Y plane. Together, they position the scan head, pointing the laser beam at its target area.

Solid State Air-Cooled Fiber Laser

A solid state air-cooled fiber laser uses an optical fiber, which is doped with IR-emitting elements. Possible doping materials include neodymium, ytterbium or erbium. The use of the doped fiber optic gives a strong advantage with its laser beam or mode quality delivered to the scan head. Its main focusing optics also allow for superior laser beam consistency, quality, and repeatability. It emits a 1050–1070 nM wavelength and is commonly used in commercial laser marking and engraving.

 

Air- or Water-Cooled Co2 Laser

This laser converts light to a usable form through carbon dioxide gas within a sealed tube where the gas is excited by electrical source. Upon excitement, the gas outputs light in the 10,600 nM range. It is most commonly used for making or engraving on organic material such as wood, glass, cotton, or plastics. Depending on the core wattage system, the laser process is either air-cooled or water-cooled.

UV Laser

UV lasers are most desirable for the very small laser spot size and the cold marking process. UV light is achieved when large diodes pump light through a doped crystal specifically designed to achieve the desired wavelength of the laser. This cold process is achieved through the 355 nM wavelength, which means that the part isn’t heated and there’s no damage to the base material.

 

Green Laser

Green lasers operate in the 532 nM, or green range. These lasers use a lateral or end pumped design with doped crystals. Commonly, a base wavelength of 1064 nM is achieved and then it is pumped through a secondary crystal, effectively doubling the wavelength to 532 nM. Most commonly, green wavelength lasers are used for marking plastics.

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