Pulsed Lasers Blog Posts

The NEW ALCOR 1064nm 5W Femtosecond Laser for Multi-Photon Microscopy!

The ALCOR laser series from SPARK Lasers just received a nice power boost! This series, offered in a dual 920nm and 1064nm wavelength configuration up to 2W, or a single wavelength configuration with up to 4W at 920nm (highest power 920nm fs laser on the market), now expands it’s offerings to 5W of power at 1064nm! The new ALCOR 1064-5W is the one of a few femtosecond lasers offering such a high average power with a fixed wavelength at 1064 nm, and it has the very same low-SWaP form factor as the rest of the ALCOR series.

Alcor - GDD PrecompensationSuperior Performance!

This 5W 1064nm version provides excellent pulse characteristics, offering >62nJ of pulse energy at a fixed repetition rate of 80MHz (40MHz also available), with a pulse duration of <130fs, for a peak pulse power of >480kW! The extremely high peak power of the ALCOR 1064-5W provides better brightness and contrast for your 2-photon microscopy application. This version comes standard with GDD precompensation from 0 down to -30,000fs^2 (others optional), conveniently tunable from the laser’s user interface. With negative GDD precompensation applied in the laser head, pulse duration is kept the same from laser output to beam excitation on the cells/tissues, despite any optics that would induce dispersion on the pulse. The ALCOR series also provides a ‘clean pulse’ by minimizing side lobes to avoid any thermal effect around the treated cell. SPARK Lasers specifically designed and developed the ALCOR 1064-5W for larger surface imaging for multi-photon microscopy, allowing a higher level of brilliance and contrast for two-photon excitation of calcium indicators such as GCaMP of other red opsins (RCaMP).


The ALCOR 1064-5W can be optionally equipped with the XSight, fully-integrated electronics module, for power adjustments and modulation. By itself, this laser has no power modulation, and can only operate in alignment mode or full power mode, with no intermediate power levels. Adding the optional XSight module allows for precise control with fine power adjustment by percentage of total power, fast gating with TTL signal (<1µs response time), fast power modulation with analog signal (<1µs response time), and power adjustment of the modulated signal, all through either the GUI or serial communication protocol. ALCOR XSight


ALCOR 1064-5W – Key Features:

  • 5W Average Power @ 1064nm (>480kW peak)
  • 80MHz (40MHz optional)
  • >62nJ pulse energy with <130fs pulse width
  • GDD precompensation from 0 down to -30k fs^2
XSight External Module for 920 or 1064nm – Features:

  • >4.2W Average Power (with ALCOR 1064-5W)
  • Fine Power Adjustment
  • Fast gating with TTL signal (<1µs response time)
  • Fast power modulation with analog signal (<1µs response time)
XSight Modulation-1

Fast TTL Gating

XSight TTL Gating-1

Fast Power Modulation


SPARK Lasers offers another optional, external module: the ALCOR FLeX Fiber with power control and fiber delivery, which is compatible with the 1W and 2W, 920nm and 1064nm configurations.

FLeX Fiber External Module for ALCOR 1W/2W, 920 or 1064nm – Features:

  • Wavelength: 920nm or 1064nmALCOR FLeX Fiber
  • Repetition rate = 80 MHz
  • Average power > 1 W
  • Pulse duration < 120 fs
  • Fiber length= 2 m
  • GDD precomp. from 0 to -20000 fs²
  • Single mode fiber: stable and clean output beam profile
  • Linear polarization
  • Fast power modulation < 1 μs response
  • Air-cooled


A Small Sampling of Successful Applications Utilizing the ALCOR 2W with 920nm and 1064nm:

SPARK vs CoherentImage courtesy of Dr. Yoonha Hwang & Dr. Howon Seo at IVIM Technology and KAIST

ALCOR 920 2W GCaMP6s

ALCOR 920 2W HuC-H2B-GCaMP6s

Check out this articles precursor, titledAdvantages of Two-Photon Microscopy Utilizing Femtosecond Fiber Lasersfor a detailed breakdown of the advantages of using femtosecond fiber lasers over older, outdated Ti:Sapphire lasers.

Also check out one of our previous whitepapers, titledContext-Dependent Sensory Processing Across Primary and Secondary Somatosensory Cortex“, provided by Jerry Chen of Chen Labs at Boston University, which details their successful experiment, investigating the roles of the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex during a tactile working memory task in mice. Within the experiment, in vivo calcium imaging of RCaMP1.07 imaging was performed using a 40MHz, 1040nm, 5W Altair fiber laser from SPARK Lasers.

The Rest of the SPARK Lasers Family:


ALTAIR is an ideal solution for biophotonics applications such as multiphoton microscopy where deep excitation of red-shifted indicators such as RCaMP, dtTomato, and MCherry is required.  Providing <160fs pulses, average power up to 20W and peak power up to 1.5MW at 1µm, the ALTAIR is the preferred solution for both OEM and researchers in the microscopy and life sciences fields.  The fiber-based design ensures robust and reliable 24/7 operation while providing supreme pulse quality from a user friendly, ultra compact air-cooled package.


Antares ANTARES is a picosecond, quasi-continuous wave laser with a high repetition rate up to 80 MHz and a narrow linewidth, in a very compact and robust format. This laser series offers average powers of 1 to 40W at 1030 nm or 1064 nm (upon request) and can be doubled or tripled in the harmonics to answer even the most challenging industrial and scientific applications. ANTARES is ideally suited for applications such as CARS and spectroscopy applications.

DIADEM is a compact, air-cooled, high energy ultrafast laser for advanced micro-machining applications that require short femtosecond pulse widths. The Diadem is available with up to 40µJ of pulse energy, 30W of average power, and operation up to 1MHz (standard), with pulses below <400 fs and an M² < 1.2. This laser has been specifically designed for demanding medical implantable device and electronics manufacturing as well as high peak power optogenetics applications.


Sirius SIRIUS is a very compact, high energy hybrid ultrafast laser for advanced micro-machining applications and supercontinuum pumping, offering over 120µJ and > 5 W, with pulses below 10 ps from single shot to 1MHz and an M² of < 1.2. This laser series specifically designed to allow for ergonomic and user-friendly operation. SIRIUS is ideally suited for selective ablation, electronics, and photonic applications.


To get more technical information about any of the Alcor configurations, or any of the other series in the SPARK Lasers family of products, check out SPARK Lasers‘ page, or talk to one of our knowledgeable Product Managers today, by calling 1.636.272.7227 or click the link below to contact us!

   Talk to a Product Manager   


SPARK Lasers

SPARK Lasers are experts in designing and manufacturing cutting-edge, reliable, and user-friendly lasers, offering several diverse product families, with a range of energies and frequencies and geared toward a variety of micromachining and biophotonics applications. SPARK’s product families include the Alcor, Altair, Antares, Diadem, and Sirius series.

SPARK Series Infographic

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