Laser power and pulse duration:
what effect do they have on materials?

Marcatura-Colorata-03.jpg Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?

In this article, we will explore the different powers of marking lasers and the pulse duration, focusing on wavelength. We will try to understand how these three parameters define the markings we make on components.

 

Laser markers can have either pulsed or continuous lasers. This is what we call the operating mode. With continuous-wave lasers, energy flow is constant. This means that the laser continuously emits a single, uninterrupted laser beam. The most common example of an uninterrupted laser beam is a laser pointer. Continuous-wave lasers are commonly used for laser cutting and laser welding.

With pulsed lasers, the laser beam is interrupted at regular intervals, allowing the energy to accumulate, reaching a higher peak power than continuous-wave lasers. The laser beam is released as pulses that last a certain amount of time, called the pulse duration. This high energy is required for many applications, such as laser marking.

Continuous-wave lasers may appear more powerful than pulsed lasers, but this is not always true. This is because, in reality, the power indicates the average laser power, and the average laser power of pulsed lasers is usually lower, even if the peaks are higher.

For example, a continuous 6,000 W laser continuously releases 6,000 W of laser power. On the other hand, a 100 W pulsed laser can release 10,000 W pulses each time.

 

Here, we will discuss the variable pulse duration version of the Fiber lasers, or LASIT’s FlyMOPA, which is ideal for marking plastic and all metal.

Types of lasers used by pulse duration

Pulsed lasers are subdivided into different categories based on the duration of their pulses. A modulator is used to control the number of pulses per second. Consequently, each pulse has a precise time length, called pulse duration, pulse length, or pulse width. The pulse duration is the time between the start and end of a pulse. There are different modulating methods to pulse laser beams. Q-switching, gain-switching, and mode-locking are a few examples. The shorter the pulse, the higher the energy peaks. These are the most common units used to express the pulse duration.

Milliseconds (one-thousandth of a second) are the longest time unit used to express the pulse duration and therefore have the lowest energy peaks. For example, the pulses of a hair removal laser can vary between 5 ms and 60 ms based on the thickness of the hair.

 

Microseconds (one-millionth of a second) are probably the most common pulse durations. They can be used for working materials. Microsecond lasers can be used for applications like spectroscopy and hair removal.

 

Nanoseconds (one-billionth of a second) are peak durations most commonly used in working materials, distance measurements, and remote detection applications.

 

Picoseconds (one-trillionth of a second) and femtoseconds (one-quadrillionth of a second) are the shortest pulse durations, a reason for which they are used for ultrashort laser pulses or ultrafast lasers. These lasers offer the most precise results and have areas subject to lower heat exposure. This prevents unwanted melting and allows for very precise engraving. They are used for processing materials in medicine (such as eye surgery), microscopy, measuring, and telecommunications. LASIT has developed its own picosecond laser, the FlyPico. It is highly effective for imperceptible marking, very dark black, and no reflection marking.

CampionmiMedicale Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?
IncisionesuperficialeLasit Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?

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FlyMOPA Laser Marker

The MOPA laser marker is a fiber laser with a 1064 nm wavelength distinguished from traditional fiber lasers because it lets you control the pulse durationwhich allows you to attain impossible results with traditional lasers, especially on plastic or color laser marking.

annealing Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?
METAL
PLASTIC
Color laser marking

High contrast

Black laser marking
on anodized aluminum

More uniform

Less corrosion due
to the low head during
marking annealing

No burns

Fewer burns on
engraved edges

Less foaming

FlyPico Laser Marker

The Powermark FlyPico laser has a fiber source laser well known for its precision in black and imperceptible picosecond laser marking. It is the first choice when it comes to post-marking treatments, like citric or nitric passivation cycles. 

 

This laser is being increasingly used for marking Medical Devices, Home Appliances, and Jewelry.

MEDICALE-02 Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?
TECHNICAL FEATURES
BENEFITS

Ultra-short pulse duration (2 ps) allows for peak power of 10 MW!

Perform processing unheard of with a traditional infrared laser, like high-contrast black making and micromachining on various materials.

Wide range of frequencies (from 50 kHz to 2,000 kHz, while other machines usually work between 500 and 1,000 kHz).

Faster execution.

Wavelength 1,030 nm, slightly shorter than the traditional 1,064 nm.

Greater compatibility with materials.

Very high band quality (M2 = 1.2).

Smaller spot for greater energy density.

Water cooled with chiller.

Optimal system stability over time.

Laser types by wavelength:
material that needs marking

Laser wavelength is determined by the material you are marking. On the market, laser markers are categorized by:

LASER SOURCE
WAVELENGTH
LASER TYPE
AVAILABLE POWER
MARKABLE MATERIALS

Fiber lasers

1064nm

FiberFly

20,30,50,100 W

All metal
Some plastic

Fiber lasers

1064nm

FlyMOPA

20,30,50,100,200 W

All metal
All plastic

Fiber lasers

1064nm

FlyPico

50W

All metal
All plastic

Green laser

532nm

FlyPeak

5, 10 W

All plastic

Ultraviolet laser

325nm

FlyUV

1, 3, 8 W

Plastic and delicate materials

CO2 Laser

10600nm

FlyCO2

10, 30, 70, 120 W

Natural materials

Type of laser by power:
what affects the wattage?

The power of the laser affects its processing speed. Contrary to what many believe, the depth and bearing of the marking are independent of the laser wattage.

 

Below are a few examples of marking where the incisions were made with the same laser source with different powers. In this manner, it is clear how the power influences the speed of the laser marking process.

REPORT L46622 MATERIAL LASER TIME

L46622 Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?

Aluminum
Fly Mopa 30W
14.8 sec
Fly Mopa 50W
11.5 sec
REPORT L45522 MATERIAL LASER TIME
L45522-1 Laser power and pulse duration: What effect do they have on materials?
Aluminum
FiberFly 20W
7.2 sec
FiberFly 30W
5.4 sec

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