Despite being the oldest form of gas lasers,CO2 lasers are still regarded as one of the most useful types of lasers. It is also included in the list of the so-called versatile lasers because it is apparently useful in several applications and processes. It is made out of a combination of different chemical components.
Aside from carbon dioxide,helium and nitrogen are also present in the output. The ratio of these three components is typically around 9.5:13.5:77. Of course all three have different and varying roles to play in the process. It is the nitrogen where energy is absorbed before it ignites carbon dioxide. As the CO2 produces the laser,the nitrogen continues to ignite it. The helium’s role is seen through the heat transfer process.
Types of carbon dioxide lasers
The basic types of CO2 lasers are broken down into three. First is the axial gas-flow which pumps the carbon dioxide,nitrogen,and helium mixture from one end of the tube before it goes out to the other. To make sure that the flow is maintained,carbon dioxide is pumped continuously into the tube. The role of nitrogen and helium in the process is to enhance efficiency. This CO2 laser’s length may be reduced through the help of folded optical systems.
There is also a transverse gas-flow CO2 laser. The gas flow for this process is done horizontally. It is capable of producing higher power outputs from the higher tube pressure. A third type known as the sealed tube is also available. This one is similar to sealed helium and neon and sealed argon and krypton lasers. There is no refilling made during the process.
Various construction materials for CO2 lasers
Besides these types are different construction materials to take note of. Mirrors,for example,make use of silicon,gold,and molybdenum – all of which are coated. when it comes to windows,zinc selenide and germanium are utilized in construction. In some instances,the diamond may also be used in window or mirror production.
Some of the optical elements produced were traditionally made out of sodium or potassium chloride. Now,these materials are no longer used because,despite its low cost,the output degrades quickly especially when moisture is present in the atmosphere.
Benefits of CO2 Lasers:
The CO2 Laser cut quality remains consistent across all ranges of material thickness whereas a fiber laser whilst being a superior cutter in the thin material range,it begins to lose cut quality immediately the material diameter exceeds 5mm.
Whilst fiber optics offers performance advantages in the thin material range,CO2 lasers will outperform them once the metal thickness being cut exceeds 5mm.
This holds true in terms of
– Cutting Speed
– Cost per part
– Quality of cut*
Generally speaking,CO2 laser technology is utilized in cutting,heat treating,engraving,and even welding. They are also important in processing of cardboard,fabric,paper,plastics,wood,and ceramics. Furthermore,they can be used in medical fields specifically in the world of dermatology. Laser surgery,dermabrasion and skin resurfacing are few of the examples in this application. You can find CO2 laser tubes for sale at Boss Lasersand they give a good overview on this blog post as well.