How To Select A Pulsed Laser:
Welcome to our ‘How To Select A Pulsed Laser’ page. This page is designed to help you down-select to an appropriate range of Pulsed Laser options, based on your unique requirements, by explaining how we define and organize our vast product portfolio, and how you can use our filters and product table to quickly find viable options to suite your needs.
If you would like some assistance:
RPMC Lasers offers a wide selection of Pulsed Lasers, including Diode-Pumped Solid-State (DPSS) Lasers, Fiber Lasers, Flashlamp Lasers, Ultrafast Lasers, Microlasers/Microchip Lasers, Tunable Lasers, MIL-SPEC Lasers, and Micromachining Systems, often with custom options, as well as completely Custom Lasers, utilizing pulse generation techniques like Q-Switching and Mode-Locking.
Pulse Width Selection:
If you need a pulsed laser, a good starting point would be filtering for Pulse Width. Here we will explain our Pulse Width categories, how we define the differences, and we provide some examples of typical Pulsed Laser applications, per category.
Femtosecond (fs) Lasers – in the Ultrafast Laser category – generate incredibly high peak pulse powers, extremely short pulse widths, and allow for what is known as ‘Cold Ablation.’ Cold ablation allows for material to be removed without heating the residual matter, and therefore, produces minimal heat affected zones (HAZ), splatter, or significant recast, and typically eliminates the need for post processing. The high peak power and short pulse width of Femtosecond Lasers is ideal for a wide range of applications, especially for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, Two-Photon/Multi-Photon Microscopy, Second Harmonic Generation (SHG), and Micromachining of many materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, coatings, glass, plastics, diamonds, and PET. In general, on a watt-to-watt basis, quality, material penetration depth, and throughput increase as the pulse duration decreases. Material to wavelength dependency is lower at these shorter pulse durations.
Under 300 Picosecond & Over 300 Picosecond Lasers:
Under 300 Picosecond Lasers (shorter picosecond pulses – e.g. ≈10ps and less) are also considered Ultrafast Lasers, producing results similar to those of a Femtosecond Laser, generating high peak powers and short pulse widths, providing cold ablation processing, with minimal HAZ, typically at a lower price point than a Femtosecond Laser.
Over 300 Picosecond Lasers (sub-nanosecond pulses) tend to act more like their Nanosecond Laser counterparts. The high peak power and short pulse widths of >300 Picosecond Lasers are ideal for a wide range of applications, especially for material processing and machining applications, such as Laser Texturing, Trimming, and Drilling.
Nanosecond (ns) Lasers, sometimes referred to as Nanolasers, are the most common category of q-switched Pulsed Lasers used today. Nanosecond Lasers generate high peak powers and short pulse widths. However, the pulses are nowhere near as short, nor do they reach the peak power levels of their Ultrafast Laser counterparts. The high peak power and short pulse widths of these lasers are ideal for a wide range of applications including Material Processing, LIBS, Laser Designation, and Laser Marking. Unlike Femtosecond and Picosecond Lasers, Nanosecond Lasers induce heat into a material to remove or alter it. Nanosecond laser applications are often wavelength specific, due to material absorption characteristics in this pulse regime.
Many applications are wavelength specific due to a sample’s absorption characteristics, or a systems detection limitation. We offer a wide selection of wavelengths for our Pulsed lasers. We have UV wavelengths, good for LIBS, Fluorescence Lifetime, and Raman Spectroscopy, IR wavelengths from NIR to LWIR, good for Gas Sensing, LIDAR, and Laser Designation, and everything in between. If you know what wavelength you need, this can be a good way to filter out unnecessary options.
When it comes to the Repetition Rate, we group our lasers into the categories: Hz (1 – 999Hz), kHz (1kHz – 999kHz), and MHz (1MHz – 999MHz). Typically, Pulsed Lasers with lower repetition rates (e.g. Hz range) exhibit lower peak pulse powers and longer pulse widths, while higher repetition rates (e.g. MHz) provide extremely high peak pulse powers and much shorter pulse widths, depending on a couple factors, like duty cycle.
Power is a function of pulse energy and repetition rate. If you have a defined pulse energy requirement, you can easily calculate what Power you would have at any given repetition rate (Power = Energy / Rep. Rate) to down select to a more appropriate range of options.
Energy is a function of power and repetition rate. If you have a defined average power requirement, you can easily calculate what Energy you would have at any given repetition rate (Energy = Power / Rep. Rate) to down select to a more appropriate range of options.
For your convenience, and to help increase your in-site search results, we have grouped our pulsed laser offerings into segments, or “Types.” Click on the links below if you would like to read more about each type.
Manufacturer & Series:
If you happen to know of a particular manufacturer, or more specifically, a particular series of lasers, you may simply filter to see all pulsed options for that manufacturer or series.
If You Would Like Some Assistance:
Other important considerations for laser selection are the operating environment (Industrial, Mil, Space, Medical, R&D), allowable laser footprint, power consumption, efficiency, ruggedness, cooling, and cost. These factors further narrow your pulsed laser options and are often the primary deciding factors for laser selection. For help in identifying a suitable pulsed laser for your application, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 636.272.7227, or click the button below to fill out a contact form!
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