Breaking Down the Industry of Photonics

Photonics is the study of light and photons. In optical data, lighting, displays, imaging and communications as well as medical and defense photonics. Photonics is defined as “a branch of physics that deals with the properties and applications of photons, especially as a medium for carrying information” by Merriam-Webster. In other words, photonics is the study of light synthesis, detection, and manipulation. In our world, this is used for laser cleaning, cutting, engraving, and marking.

We have to start from the beginning before the birth of the laser (1957), you had the maser (1954). A maser is an acronym for Microwave (or later updated Molecular) Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation and was used for time keeping time atomic clocks and deep spacecraft communication with ground stations. But in 1957 with the creation of the first optical oscillator was the birth of what we know today as a Laser by Charles Hard Townes of Columbia University. In later years they applied for a US patient and in 1960 they were granted a US patent for the optical maser.

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In the coming years, photonics will play a major role in environmental goals. We want to expand our projects while reducing their environmental burden. The market wants low-cost mobile devices with universal application. CleanTechTM industrial laser cleaning systems from Laser Photonics Corporation are non-abrasive, safe, and environmentally friendly. Continuing study will help us uncover new uses for this technology.

Photonics shapes today’s products like phone communications, LED lighting, internet, and displays. The photonics industry has advanced equipment to reach new technological heights. Photonics applications are enabling high-volume, low-cost manufacturing, transforming a limitation into an advantage. Photonics is improving medical equipment to better detection, illness prevention, and treatment methods. Communications has advanced into the future by increasing data capacity and speed while lowering industry footprint. Continue reading to learn more about this disruptive technology’s potential.

What does Laser stand for?

Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation

The first account of the use of the acronym LASER was Gordon Gould jotted down it in a lab notebook in 1957

Using photonics technology to create lasers offers new doors of potential. Fiber Optic cables were the most recent photonic advancement that impacted our planet. Fiber optic connections boosted data capacity and speed while lowering footprint. Laser range finding is another application of laser technology. When you check out at your local grocery shop, a laser reads the item’s barcode. In the medical industry, lasers are used to perform less intrusive surgeries, reducing recuperation times. Lasers have also been developed for manufacturing organizations to increase output and save expenses. Photonics and laser technologies are ubiquitous.

Lasers can be broken into different categories’ based on the laser gain medium. The laser gain medium quantifies the medium which light can be amplified. Different examples of these lasers are as follows.

Type of Laser:

Example 1


Gas Laser

nitrogen laser

A nitrogen laser can be used in laser cutting.

Solid State Laser

YAG laser

A YAG laser used for manufacturing and laser engraving.

Liquid Laser

dye laser

A dye laser can be used in tattoo removal

Fiber Laser

erbium fiber laser

widely used in industrial environments to perform cutting, marking, welding, cleaning, texturing, drilling and a lot more

Semiconductor Laser

Hybrid silicon laser

A semiconductor laser for use in optical interconnects in and around PCs and servers

Chemical Laser

Hydrogen fluoride laser

HF lasers have been primarily used in military and space applications.

Metal-Vapor Laser

Copper Vapor Lasers

Copper vapor lasers are used in some machining and laser cutting applications.

Free-electron lasers


Used in X-Rays for imagining

Nuclear pumped laser

Laser propulsion

Laser propulsion is an alternative method of propulsion ideal for launching objects into orbit, as this method requires less fuel, meaning less mass must be launched. A nuclear pumped laser is ideal for this operation.

Gamma-ray laser

is a hypothetical device that would produce coherent gamma rays, just as an ordinary laser produces coherent rays of visible

Photonics is not going to replace electronics; photonics are going to change electronics. 3D printing and high wattage laser technology are transforming the photonics business. Aerospace, defense, automotive, and manufacturing industries all use 3D Metal Printing. Many industry experts report that today’s metal printing methods create MRL4-MRL6 prototype parts for applications reviewed by the FDA for passenger and patient safety. Once manufacturing statistical data meets MRL10 specifications, metal printed parts are ready for production. Laser systems use a high-powered, energy-efficient laser to clean a variety of materials and are suitable for industrial manufacturers working with high-temperature components such as turbines, jet engines, and combustion motors. Generally, lasers are utilized in industrial settings to conduct tasks like cutting, marking, welding, cleaning, texturing, and cutting.

Laser Photonics Corporation

How will Photonics advance electronics in the future?

Photonics is not going to replace electronics; photonics are going to change electronics. The industry of photonics is heading down the path of 3d printing and high wattage laser technology. 3D Metal Printing is an emerging technology with a presence in numerous industries including aerospace, defense, automotive, and manufacturing. As reported by many industry experts, today’s metal printing systems produce metal printed prototype parts ranging from MRL4-MRL6 for applications evaluated by the FDA with respect to passenger and patient safety. Metal printed parts are ready to move into production once manufacturing statistical data meets the requirements of MRL10. Laser systems uses a high-powered, energy efficient laser to clean a variety of materials and is ideal for industrial manufactures operating with components withstanding high temperature environments such as maintenance and repair facilities for military, shipbuilding, and aircraft repair facilities as well as turbines, jet engines, and combustion motors. We see the laser widely used in industrial environments to perform cutting, marking, welding, cleaning, texturing, and cutting.

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    Fiber laser features out preforms many of its comparable different gain medium lasers. The most significant advantage is energy efficiency. Fiber laser systems are now replacing CO2 and YAG lasers for marking, cutting and engraving applications. Laser Photonics’ latest laser systems include, the FiberTower™ Series, is a safe, state-of-the-art, low-cost alternative for Nd:YAG lasers commonly used for direct part marking applications.

    Permanent marking for product identification and traceability is being used in many industries. The FiberTower™ systems are used in a variety of marking and cutting applications including ITO Removal, IC Chip Package Marking, 2D Symbologies & Linear Barcodes, Alphanumerics, Logos, Serial Numbers, Part Numbers, Date Codes, Data Matrix Codes, Surface Etching and Annealing, Ablation, Graphics and more. Fiber lasers are used to process many materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, carbide, polycarbonate, titanium, nickel, PVC, plastics, rubber, chrome, backlit and radio buttons, auto and aerospace cockpits, etc.


    200% greater reliability over Nd:Yag and CO2 lasers
    No consumables
    Reduced power consumption
    No maintenance, cleaning or alignments
    Increased power efficiency up to 50%
    Consistent, round beam profile
    50% smaller spot size than Nd:Yag and CO2 lasers
    Air cooled versus chiller
    Ownership cost is 50% less than Nd:Yag systems

    To create this special beam of light, the following three basic components are required:

    The resonator cavity, which is a tube with a mirror on one end and a partially transparent mirror on the other end so some light can escape.
    The lasing medium, which is the material that goes inside the resonator cavity. The lasing medium can be a crystal, gas, liquid, or semiconductor.
    The excitation source, which is what is used to excite the atoms of the lasing medium. The excitation source can be an electric current, a high intensity lamp, a radio frequency, or even another laser

    Laser systems are more compact and efficient than other conventional methods. Their adoption enables manufacturers to free up expensive floor space and reduce payroll redundancies & power consumption demands. Laser Photonics’ product lines boast an industry-leading MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)—surpassing 100,000 hours.

    Fiber Laser vs CO2 Laser

    CO2 LASER (3000W)FIBER LASER (3000W)
    Laser SystemLaser based on a gas mixture in which light is amplified by carbon dioxide molecules.Diode Pumped Laser with a doped fiber as gain medium where most of the laser module is made of fiber
    ReflectivityCO2 lasers are less effective for cutting highly reflective materials since much of the beam is reflected back towards the source and not absorbed by the substrate. As a result, higher power levels are required for cutting as compared to fiber lasers.Much less power is required for cutting reflective materials like aluminum or copper since more of the laser energy is absorbed by the substrate. This allows for intricate high-quality cutting at higher efficiencies than comparable laser cutting systems
    Reliability ( MTBF)Only around 20,000 hours50,000 to 100,000 hours
    Power ConsumptionElectrical Power Requirements (Average United States)’s Average Power Cost:$0.1002 per kWhBased on 2 10-hour shifts and 250 working days per year.High Power Consumption
    Laser Consumption: 54 kW
    Chiller Consumption: 32 kW (Estimate)
    Calculation: 20h/day * (54kW+32kW) * $0.1002/kWh * 250days
    $43,086 per year
    Very Low Power Consumption
    Laser Consumption: 14 kW
    Chiller Consumption: 11kW (Estimate)
    Calculation: 20h/day * (14kW+11kW) *
    $0.1002/kWh * 250days
    $12,525 per year
    MaintenanceMaintenance & Service Costs:
    $35,000 per year
    Estimated Purge Gas Consumables:
    Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Helium
    Estimated Gas Cost: $7.66/h
    Calculation: $7.66/h * 20h/day * 250days
    $38,300 per year
    • Minimum Maintenance
    • Low Consumables
    • No cleaning of or alignment of mirrors for beam path
    Power EfficiencyOnly as high as 6-7%Greater than 30%
    Bean Quality & Spot SizeTEM00 (<1.15) beam profile results in significantly higher power density directed to the material surface. Requires less power for the same result in comparison with CO2 systems.
    Optical Path/Beam PathMirrors and optical path
    Loss of beam quality and significant power drop
    Flexible Cable (up to 50m)
    Cooling System50,000 BTU10,000 BTU
    Total Cost of OwnershipFirst Year (Estimation)$116,386 per year$12,525 per year

    Laser Safety

    OSHA Standards

    General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

    1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment

    1910.132, General requirements.

    1910.133, Eye and face protection.

    Laser light can be very powerful – powerful enough to cut through thick steel. It can also be very precise – precise enough to slice a small section off of large raw materials. If a laser can do this, what do you think it could do to your eyes and skin?

    Let’s look more carefully at a laser beam. Some laser light you can’t see and some laser light you can see, depending on the laser beam’s wavelength. The laser beam’s wavelength determines what the amount of damage can occur if you look directly into the beam or look at the beam when it reflects off of a reflective surface. A burn to the front part of the eyeball could result in partial blindness. A burn to the back of the eyeball could cause partial or permanent blindness.

    To prevent these operators can enclose the laser beam so that nothing can pass through protected viewing window, Class 1. Operators need to wear laser eye protection in the form of goggles or glasses. Ordinary sunglasses will not protect you against laser light. The goggles or glasses must be made to protect you against the wavelength and power level that the laser is operating at. Each laser requires its own eye protection, as there is not one set of goggles or glasses that protects against all lasers. Lasers that are completely enclosed do not require eye protection.

    FDA/The Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is a regulatory bureau within the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health and Human Services. CDRH has been chartered by Congress to standardize the performance safety of manufactured laser products. All laser products that have been manufactured and entered into commerce, after August 2, 1976, must comply with these regulations.

    Our CleanTech™ products are registered with FDA and CDHR.

    Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) department of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did acknowledge a registration of the Class I , CleanTech™ Laser Products, and issued an Accession Number for those can be provided if requested.

    Model family CleanTech™ with models Pro CM, Megacenter, Little Giant, Compact, Laser Blaster Cabinet, Titan, Desktop, Professional DUO, Tool Master, Titan Express, Professional, Titan FX, Professional RT.

    Laser Photonics certify that Class I , CleanTech™ Laser Products are in full compliance with FDA requirements and regulations.

    A Laser OEM Registration and Listing of the CleanTech™ Class IV Material Processing Laser Products was acknowledged by FDA, and an accession number can be provided if requested.

    CleanTech™ Handheld LPC-200CTH, CleanTech™ Handheld LPC-50CTH, CleanTech™ Handheld LPC-1000CTH, CleanTech™ Handheld LPC-300CTH, CleanTech™ Handheld LPC-2000CTH, CleanTech™ Handheld LPC-100CTH, CleanTech™ Robot, CleanTech™ Handheld NCX; model family I-Series with model(s) I-Series OEM Kit.

    A customer possessing these products is solely responsible for the compliance with FDA.

    Laser Hazard Classification

      • Class 1 is inherently safe, usually because the light is contained in an enclosure, for example in CD players.
      • Class 2 is safe during normal use; the blink reflexof the eye will prevent damage. Usually up to 1 mW power, for example laser pointers.
      • Class 3R (formerly IIIa) lasers are usually up to 5 mW and involve a small risk of eye damage within the time of the blink reflex. Staring into such a beam for several seconds is likely to cause damage to a spot on the retina.
      • Class 3B lasers (5–499 mW) can cause immediate eye damage upon exposure.
      • Class 4 lasers (≥ 500 mW) can burn skin, and in some cases, even scattered light from these lasers can cause eye and/or skin damage. Many industrial and scientific lasers are in this class.
    Laser Photonics Corporation

    About Laser Photonics

    Laser Photonics Corporation, based in Orlando, Florida, is the leading industrial company in high-tech laser systems for laser cleaning, laser marking, laser cutting, laser engraving, 3D printing, and other materials processing applications. Our systems are, currently and historically, used by manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, defense, energy, industrial, maritime, and medical industries around the world. The Laser Photonics brand is associated with a number of worldwide licenses and patents for innovative and ‘unique-to-industry’ laser products and technologies.

    Need A Laser? Let Us Help

      What is laser ablation?

      Laser Cleaning (also known as Laser Blasting) vs. Abrasive Blasting are some of the most common equipment options in processes for surface conditioning needs. Abrasive blasting is constituted in either sandblasting, bead blasting, soda blasting, media blasting, water blasting, dry ice blasting, or chemical etching. These days, companies using abrasive blasting machinery experience a number of difficulties than solutions in their material processing/surface preparation needs and a new wave of technology is being sought after. Enter Laser Blasting. Laser Blasting, or Laser Cleaning, is being used in various industries due to their speed and efficiency in cleaning without damaging the base material, environment, or affecting personal health. Laser Technology is beginning to be seen as the most effective method for cleaning, cutting, marking and engraving.

      Fiber Laser in Rust Removal

      Laser rust removal is a method of cleaning metal parts. This method removes rust and contaminants completely without damaging the metal underneath. Laser rust removal is superior to manual and chemical cleaning methods in terms of precision and cost. It’s also a great way to save the planet with one of the smallest environment footprints. When laser cleaning rust and dirt layers are combusted material and are extracted by the fume extractor without permanently affecting the material.

      Fiber Laser for Paint and Powdered Coat Removal

      Laser paint removal is an alternative to traditional media blasting. When a laser ablates a surface, it creates shockwaves that eject or gas contaminants. No damage to the substrate layers or surrounding material is caused by laser cleaning. We’ll help you find and calibrate the cleaning laser for your specific needs. It’s also known as laser coating removal and de-coating. Steel and aluminum are the most common metals used in the process. It can be used for powder coating, e-coating, and phosphate coating.

      Fiber Laser for Surface Treatment

      Compared to other surface preparation methods, industrial laser cleaning has several benefits. Among the most common are improved bonding and adhesion, improved surface profile, low operating costs, and chemical-free. The right surface preparation method affects the performance and lifespan of your equipment as well as the effectiveness of coatings and welds. Prior to laser cleaning, surface preparation included sanding, chemical stripping, and even manually scraping contaminants. Each of these steps slowed production time and increased the risk of part damage.

      Fiber Laser for Mold Cleaning

      Laser mold cleaning is advantageous because it allows you to clean and sterilize molds without disassembling parts, wasting time in transportation, or causing damage. This reduces cleaning downtime and provides more production time for the molds. The solution can be handed or automated depending on the operating needs. Once we have details of how the mold is used, we can offer you the best cleaning solution to achieve company manufacturing goals.

      Fiber Laser for Mill Scale Removal

      Before applying a corrosion-resistant coating to metal, mill scale must be cleaned off. Lumpy flaky texture formed on hot-rolled oxides and metals. When surface coatings are applied with the presence of mill scale it will cause to paint break and chip, exposing the metal substrate to moisture. Mill scale can be removed using laser cleaning prior to application of a fresh coating of paint to seal base metal. Laser Photonics Corporation offers laser cleaning solutions with our Cleantech fiber laser handheld systems. This process does not damage the steel substrate while removing paint and mill scale while preparing a surface for adhesion. Steel substrates such as ship bodies and railway tracks are examples 1sof Mill Scale removal.

      Laser Cutting

      Now you must be asking “what can a fiber laser cut?” Laser cutting is a non-contact subtractive manufacturing technology that uses either fiber or CO2 laser to cut materials primarily used for a variety of industrial manufacturing applications. Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high-power focused laser beam melting the material leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish. Unsurpassed technologies advantages define laser Photonics’ family of industrial-grade laser cutting machines. Laser Photonics’ flagship performance advantage is the Direct Drive Motion System (DDMS) technology, a maintenance-free magnetic-based motion platform that is superior to any other mechanical motion system simply because it is an order of magnitude lower in resistance. Laser cutting machines by Laser Photonics are designed to outperform any competitor’s technology.

      Our Laser cutting solutions can cut stainless steel up to 40mm (1.5 inches).

      Zero Width Laser Cutting Technology™ is a method and process for cutting glass and other brittle non-metallic materials. The process splits materials at the molecular level under a non-contact process with tremendous speed resulting in no material loss, chips, lateral cracks, protrusions, hooks, and flares, or any other forms of contaminants. The technique uses a laser-controlled Power Density profile on the material surface to generate the subsurface forces greater than intermolecular connections. Zero Width Laser Cutting Technology has been optimized for thin-glass applications up to 1.0mm, but can be applied to other thicknesses. The method uses a non-contact laser-induced internal stress to produce a controlled separation. Since the technique is non-contact, the surface degradation associated with mechanical scribe and break is eliminated. Yield loss as a result of particulate damage is also greatly reduced. These advancements offers a cost-effective solution to manufacturing space and efficiency. Systems that utilize Zero Width Laser Cutting Technology can achieve much deeper penetration of a precisely controlled micro-crack. The Zero Width Laser Cutting Technology method incorporates cooling of the glass surface following controlled heating, with the correct power density profile, this creates the intermolecular separation of the glass substrate to a certain depth. Depth ( t ) has an inverse relation to the speed ( v ) of cutting, assuming that power ( P ) is constant. This means that the slower the speed the deeper the separation that is formed. Both mathematical models and empirical data support these conclusions and field experience has verified these findings. Zero Width Laser Cutting Technology is the only technology available in the world with a non-dimensional cutting line. Unlike traditional methods, such as those involving diamond blades, waste material created by the cutting process can be completely eliminated. Laser Photonics Corporation developed and owns the patent.

      When cutting acrylic, slow speed and high power usually produces the best result. Like other materials, Acrylic sublimates (changes from liquid to gas) and there is no carbonization as you may get with other plastics. This makes it a popular material for laser cutting. Cast Acrylic in its sheet form is manufactured by mixing the liquid acrylic between two glass plates and is considered the higher quality product. While most plastics and biological materials require a high level of air assistance to cut, acrylic only requires a low level of assistance.

      Application Details:

      The PLASDEX™ Plastic Cutting Laser System by Laser Photonics is an industrial-grade CO2 laser system optimized for cutting plastic with superior edge quality eliminating post-processing operations. The 42” x 42” processing chamber provides ample room to position each mold directly under the laser beam for high-quality quick cut production. The system includes an oversized exhaust vent mounted directly above the 12” x 12” cutting area to efficiently capture vapors drawn through a series of HEPA filters in the external fume extractor. The system is designed to operate under high-vibration, shock, and dust conditions and incorporates Laser Photonics’ proprietary FiberScan C3 LT Windows compatible software.

      Laser cutting is a newer technology that uses modern computing and laser beams to cut materials. Before starting the laser cutting machine, a design is entered into computer software and then the laser then burns, melts, or vaporizes the materials to shape them. The equipment generally uses gas to blow away any leftover material. The material will be changed into the desired shape at the end of the operation. Its edge will also be perfectly finished. CleanCut Technology uses state of the art technology which eliminates burns caused by the laser around corners during cutting. This confirms a perfect cut and the highest quality edges in the industry especially on highly reflective materials including aluminum, copper, bronze, and steel.

      Copper is a highly reflective element. This made the cutting process difficult with conventional CO2 lasers because the laser beam reflects off the surface before the copper can absorb its energy. For this reason, manufacturers and fabricators chose alternative methods like water jets and stamping copper. However, innovations in fiber laser technology have made fiber laser machines ideal for this application. With a shorter wavelength, tighter focus, and greater power density, fiber lasers have become the best solution for cutting highly reflective materials like copper and brass.

      Laser Photonics Corporation’s laser cutting machines, utilizing advanced cutting technology, have fully-integrated systems that monitor the cutting process and provide users with applicable information. The high-quality heads ensure processing with up to 15 kW of laser power and can cut stainless steel up to 40mm (1.5 inches). The process can be utilized on a single or dual shuttle table, and each system is equipped with a solid-state laser cutting head and an autofocus sensor, providing unmatched quality for thick metal cutting. These systems are geared toward the shipbuilding, aerospace, and defense industries, as well as companies that produce construction equipment, aluminum vehicles, and food processing equipment. The performance advantage of these laser cutting machines is the Direct Drive Motion System (DDMS) technology, a maintenance-free magnetic-based motion platform that is superior to any other mechanical motion system simply because it is an order of magnitude lower in resistance. All other competing technologies require larger, high-power consumption motors to offset higher-resistant motion systems that need routine replacement of parts due to continuous friction-based wear and tear. Another significant technology advantage is the use of fully-sealed encoders that permanently eliminate conditions for laser placement errors and material jamming accidents associated with optical encoders that occasionally break or lose location accuracy due to accumulated debris obscuring the optical location functionality. These machines provide a complete solution for the laser-based cutting of thin, medium, and thick material in different types of metals from highly reflective (copper, brass, aluminum) to steel, stainless steel, titanium, and more.