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A fiber laser is a special type of laser in which the beam delivery as well as the laser cavity is integrated into a single system inside an optical fiber with the beam generated within the fiber, unlike conventional lasers where the beam is generated outside and sent into the system. Considered as a special category of solid state laser, fiber lasers provide many benefits compared with other laser technologies, such as:
Fiber lasers are by design monolithic. They produce high-quality beams in a single mode. A fiber laser consists of:
With the help of the fiber core, the laser light of a specific wavelength is allowed to pass through the fiber. A very high amplification is generated when the laser light experiences a great length of interaction. In order to make the output higher, a pump laser input has to be powerful, which in turn needs more use of semiconductor lasers of the light source.
There are several advantages associated with fiber lasers. They are highly powerful, reliable and stable compared to other types of lasers. High beam quality is provided by fiber lasers. It is also compact and portable, and is relatively easier to use. It has high optical and electrical efficiency. The total cost of ownership involved is much lower, and it has a high immunity to tough environmental conditions and changes. The amplitude noise is low and also has low jitter. Users are able to select the wavelengths and have precise beam control with a fiber laser.
Disadvantages of using a fiber laser include undesired and non-linear optical effects at high pulse energy. The cutting speed through thicker materials is also lower with fiber lasers.
Fiber lasers are widely used in many applications such as drilling, welding, cutting and marking and in many industries such as automotive, medical, electronics and manufacturing.