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Comparing various laser types

Supplier: Trotec Laser By: Suraya Diamond-Coorey
24 May, 2018

One of our main differences in our laser machines in the laser source they use. At Trotec the main lasers we talk about are the CO2 lasers and fiber lasers.

Each laser has its own advantages and disadvantages and is suited to different materials and applications. If you are unsure which laser would be best for you, please contact us and one of our laser experts will be happy to guide you through your selection.

CO2 lasers (gas lasers)

Trotec's CO2 (gas) lasers are based on a carbon dioxide gas mixture that is electrically stimulated. A wavelength of 10.6 micrometres means they are best suited for non-metallic materials and a majority of plastics. CO2 laser machines are the most widely used laser type as they can be used on a diverse range of applications, have extremely efficient and have excellent beam quality.

Suited for the following materials: Woodacrylicglasspapertextilesplasticsfoils & filmsleatherstone

Fiber lasers

Fiber lasers generate their laser by means of the seed laser. They amplify this laser in specially designed glass fibers, which get their energy supplies via pump diodes. Trotec's fiber laser belong to the solid state laser group, with a wavelength of 1.064 micrometres, it produces an extremely small focal diameter. This increases the intensity of the laser to 100 times higher than that of the CO2 lasers, while on average emitting the same power.  

Fiber laser machines are optimally suited for metal marking by way of annealing, metal engraving and high-contrast plastic markings. Fiber lasers are generally maintenance-free and feature a long service life of at least 25,000 laser hours.

A special type of fiber laser is the MOPA laser, where pulse durations are adjustable. This makes the MOPA laser one of the most flexible lasers which can be used for many applications.

Suited for the following materials: Metals, coated metals, plastics

Nd:YAG, Nd:YVO (crystal lasers)

Crystal lasers, like fiber, belong to the solid state laser group. In recent times, lasers for marking applications are pumped by diodes (in the past by flash lamps). The most common laser types in this category areNd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) and Nd:YVO (neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate), named after the doping element neodymium and the carrier crystal. With 1.064 micrometers, crystal lasers have the same wavelength as fiber lasers making them suited for marking metals and plastics.

Unlike fiber lasers, these laser types include the relatively expensive pump diodes, which are wearing parts. They must be replaced after approx. 8,000 to max. 15,000 laser hours. The crystal itself also has a shorter service life than a fiber laser. 

Suited for the following materials: Metals, coated metals, plastics, to some extent also for ceramic