Laser marking is the process of marking parts or workpieces using laser technology.

A laser beam hits the material, and its energy creates a reaction that leaves a permanent mark.

The speed, power, and focus of the laser beam on the part will lead to different laser processes.

And you can mark using laser marking, laser etching, laser annealing, or laser ablation.

Choosing the right laser technology and configuration is key to successfully mark your parts.

So to determine what you need, you must first define your application requirements.

Keep reading to learn how these requirements will help determine the laser system, power, and process you need

1. All materials have an absorption spectrum

Wavelengths emitting by most industrial laser systems can’t be seen by the naked eye, so they’re hard to imagine.

Yet, different materials react differently to different wavelengths.

Besides,each material has a unique composition that absorbs certain wavelengths and not others.

Since lasers produce a single wavelength, they’re highly specialized tools for marking very specific materials.

And different materials thus have different laser requirements.

Depending on your material, you’ll either need a fiber laser marking system or a CO2 laser system.

2. Fiber and CO2 laser systems produce different wavelengths

The various types of lasers emit different wavelengths based on their gain medium—a component of the laser source.

The material you’ll be marking will dictate which type of laser marking system you need.

Fiber laser systems are best for marking metals

In fact,fiber laser systems are sometimes considered to be solid-state lasers.

They have a laser source that includes an optical fiber that contains a rare-earth metal like ytterbium.

And they produce laser light on a wavelength of approximately 1 micrometer (1064 nm).

Therefore,most metals react well with fiber laser marking.

Gas-state laser systems are best for marking organic materials

Moreover,Gas-state laser systems have a laser source that includes gas.

The most widely known gas lasers are CO2 lasers.

These laser marking systems can produce laser light on wavelengths that range from 9 micrometers to 10.2 micrometers (9,000—12,000 nm).

Most organic compounds react well with these wavelengths.

But as opposed to fiber laser systems, metals react poorly with these wavelengths.