How to Select Lasers             Image credit: Newark/element14 | Thorlabs | Edmund Optics   Lasers are devices that produce intense beams of monochromatic, coherent radiation.   The original term "laser" (dating to about 1960) was an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation", although its original meaning has generally been overshadowed by regular use of...
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Q & A on Lasers

We asked our users for their input on Lasers. Here are the results of 164 users familiar with Lasers.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing laser design?
26 answers
Answers:
New lasing media as well as the compactness of semi-conductor pumping diodes coupled with faster pulsed lasers with finer beam spot dimensions.
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Semiconductor technology ( direct and pumping ) fiber technology new laser materials
~Pavel V, Design Engineer, Prague, Czech Republic
Laser pumping sources, Q switching techniques, Fibre and ND YVO4 technologies
~Shibu S, Marketing/Sales, Faridabad, India
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative lasers?
23 answers
Answers:
Coherent, Newport (Spectra-Physics)
~Research & Development, Moscow, Russia
Northrup Grumman, Spectra Physics
~Ketan Malani, Manufacturer, Ahmedabad, India
Coherent - pulsed and solid state lasers NKT photonics - super continuum white light laser
~Ido Hadar, Student, Jerusalem, ISRAEL
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used lasers for?
39 answers
Answers:
Bio-photoluminescence, ion channel excitation such as channelrhodopsin and halorhodopsin, molecular excitation, particle velocimetry, particle identification, specimen reflection, nanoparticle density and alteration visualization, holography, Raman spectroscopy, interferometry, ontocological solution thermal reactions, topical medical healing/therapy, as well as star gazing and laser light shows.
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Encoder (Position and movement sensor) Direct burning printer CNC for Plastic parts Transfer Images from film to hard surfaces
~Anatoliy B, Engineer, Vladikavkaz, Russia
Presently being used in a study to record distances on live bodies, the points required are approximated to be max[ 50 ] ..the ? i am pursuing is the under arm area & the crotch area, these points must register the distances to the floor on a horizontal level.
~Research & Development, Inisfil, Canada
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that lasers have been used for.
18 answers
Answers:
Doppler effect for non-contact accelerometer to determine resonant frequencies of discrete electro-mechanical devices (bode plots) for notching negative pressure air bearing apps.
~Jack Z, Research & Development, Framingham, MA
Multi-site, multi-wavelength optical excitation of neurons in mammalian brain using in vivo techniques while simultaneously capturing the neural responses to the light excitation.
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Modification of immunity Triggering of therapeutic cell and tissue stress without damage
~Timothy B, Vice President Strategic Planning, Boston, MA
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of lasers?
11 answers
Answers:
Excitation of a multi-watt laser with safety caps on fibres thereby these being melted in place and destroying the fibre, placement of reflective surface(s) in the beam path not taking into account back reflection thereby causing diode overload, incomplete thermal considerations for passively cooled laser modules causing thermal spikes which destroy lasers diodes and temperature controllers (and/or driver boards), and the worst is inappropriate or incomplete eye protection for any/all wavelengths that 'might' emanate from a laser aperture or its reflection.
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Yes, several cases of eye damage, one fatal case due to high voltage. I personally had 4.5 kV shock. Fire ignition on curtains. Poisoning with chemicals to be used in laser cells etc...
~Juozas R., Optics, Vilnius R., Technical Support, Vilnius, Lithuania
If you have your power lever and wave length set too high you will destroy parts.
~Arlen Hurt, General Management, Cumming, GA
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
18 answers
Answers:
Finesse beam characteristics, complete linear control, optical manipulation built into the optical train, and adaptation of a laser to be CW or pulsed with great range.
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Tunable far UV diode laser with more than 10 mw power, and longer than 10,000 hours lifetime.
~Nicolas B, Principal Chemist, Austin, TX
Double pulse laser, with possibility to put beams in parallel and orthogonal configurations.
~Joakim S, Research & Development, Belgrade, Serbia
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of lasers?
14 answers
Answers:
We made some initial prototype purchases where what we understood terms to mean and what the engineers understood were different. Sometimes, for example, engineers took "fluence" to mean either "dose" or "pulse fluence." Identifying common language is importance.
~Timothy B, Vice President Strategic Planning, Boston, MA
Simple optical energy density calculations, or power calculations can support the most basic elements of laser selection.
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Make sure you purchase the proper power level needed for your applications. Do not overbuy.
~Arlen Hurt, General Management, Cumming, GA
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using lasers?
15 answers
Answers:
Know what you want - exactly - or relay to the potential supplier exactly what you are trying to do and gain an understanding of what the laser will have to accomplish to achieve your result(s).
~Scotti B, Tech Sales, Global, Burlington, Canada
Buy a U.S. manufactured laser if at all possible. Repair cost and down time are greatly reduced
~Arlen Hurt, General Management, Cumming, GA
To use goggles.
~Anatoliy B, Engineer, Vladikavkaz, Russia
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