An Inside Look at the CO2 Laser and What it Is

In most cases and to most people, lasers sound like they’ve come straight out of a science fiction book but even the most creative of fictional ideas has to come from somewhere. In the case of lasers, there are actually many different types that might be utilized frequently in various types of work. Overall, lasers can be used for several purposes and each will likely depend on the type of laser that is being used. For example, a CO2 laser is most commonly used to process materials, specifically for cutting, welding, and marking.

What Are CO2 Lasers?

A CO2 laser, or a carbon dioxide laser, is a laser that uses molecular gas. This laser is based on a mixture of gases that might include carbon dioxide, water vapor, xenon, nitrogen, helium, and some hydrogen; each gas that might be included in the mixture would serve a specific purpose depending on the gas. These lasers use electricity to pump the gas and it can be used with radio frequencies, an AC current, or a DC current. As mentioned, a CO2 laser might be used for many things, especially within the realm of processing materials such as wood, die boards, stainless steel, copper, or aluminum.

Types of CO2 Lasers

The CO2 laser family actually contains many different types of lasers that fall under the same category. Lasers that don’t require a lot of power may be made with sealed tubes that contain the gas mixture; these are compact, durable lasers that last a while between each use. There are also high-power diffusion-cooled slab lasers, which are different from solid-state slab lasers. Those hold the gas mixture within a gap between two RF electrodes that are planar and water-cooled. Other types of CO2 lasers include fast axial flow lasers, fast transverse flow lasers, transverse excited atmosphere lasers, and gas-dynamic CO2 lasers.

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