Laser Technology Basics

The term “Laser”

“LASER” stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”. Lasers amplify light by absorbing and radiating energy. The laser radiation is generated by a laser source. For this, concentrated energy is supplied to a crystal rod (solid state laser) or a special gas mixture (gas laser). This energy can be supplied in the form of light (flash lamps or diode laser) or by electric discharge (comparable to a fluorescent lamp). The crystal rod or the laser active gas is arranged between two mirrors. This generates a light resonator that directs the laser light into a specific direction and amplifies it in this manner. A defined percentage of the laser light is emitted through the partially transmissive mirrors and is available for working the material.

Laser beam characteristics

Laser light can be highly collimated by means of a focus lens. An extremely high energy density is generated in the focus of the laser beam, which can be used for melting or evaporating the material. In addition, using suitable optics (mirrors), laser light can be directed and reflected, and this completely without any losses even over large distances. Positioning systems (laser plotters) or galvanometer scanners are used as movement systems. The result is a universal and wear-free tool as the laser beam will never become blunt.

Different laser types for different applications

Common laser types include “sealed-off” gas lasers (CO2 lasers) and fiber lasers. Both operate economically and feature a long service life. CO2 lasers are especially suited for laser engraving and laser cutting. Fiber lasers are mainly used for laser marking. In addition, with the Speedy 300 flexx, Trotec is the only laser system manufacturer to offer a product that combines both technologies and thus supports all applications (engraving, cutting and marking) equally effectively. For more information see: Laser types