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Pulsed Lasers

Definition: lasers emitting light in the form of pulses

More general terms: lasers

Opposite term: continuous-wave lasers

German: gepulste Laser

Category: light pulses

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature


Pulsed lasers are lasers which emit light not in a continuous mode, but rather in the form of optical pulses (light flashes). The term is most commonly used for Q-switched lasers, which typically emit nanosecond pulses, but this article gives an overview of a wider range of pulse-generating lasers. Depending on the pulse duration, pulse energy, pulse repetition rate and wavelength required, very different methods for pulse generation and very different types of pulsed lasers are used. The article on pulse generation describes more in detail the technical methods, whereas this article discusses some types of pulsed lasers:

For boosting the average power (particularly of high repetition rate pulse trains with moderate pulse energies), high-power fiber amplifiers are often well suited. For ultrashort pulses with much increased pulse energies, one uses regenerative amplifiers and multipass amplifiers. A laser system combined with some kind of optical amplifier is often still called a laser as a whole.


The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 120 suppliers for pulsed lasers. Among them:

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See also: pulse generation, pulses, lasers, Q-switched lasers, mode-locked lasers, ultrafast lasers, gain switching
and other articles in the category light pulses


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