Laser Description

With so many options on laser marking systems available today it is not surprising that many people get confused with which is the most suitable to their application. Many people don’t even know that the term “laser”, is actually an acronym – Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation – which explains the process by which a laser beam is created. The basic theory of this is simple. A gain medium (the material that is used to create the laser light), is excited using either light or electrical energy to generate photons (the laser light). All of this is happening in a closed cavity, with a completely reflective mirror at one end, and a semi reflective one at the other. When the light bouncing around inside gains enough energy, it escapes through the semi-reflective mirror.
 
These high energy photons are then focused to a small spot (much like you did at school when you used a magnifying glass to focus the sunlight to burn things!). If it is a vector laser, this beam is deflected and directed using a pair of mirrors (X and Y deflection). This guide will help you understand the capabilities of the 3 most common lasers available in the market today: 

A CO2 laser: the Carbon Dioxide gas sealed inside the laser (along with some other gases – most commonly nitrogen, and helium) is pumped (excited / heated up) using electrical energy (DC, AC or RF) which creates the stream of photons.
An Nd:YAG laser: the neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:Y3Al5O12) is pumped using a lamp or diode to emit the stream of photons.
A Fiber laser: a glass fiber doped with a rare earth ion – most commonly ytterbium (Yb3+) – is diode pumped and the photons generated are reflected down the fiber towards the deflecting mirrors.

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