Definition: assemblies containing a mounted gain medium and means for pumping and cooling, or the complete optical parts of a laser, or assemblies for directing a laser beam to a workpiece
Alternative terms: pump chambers, processing heads
German: Laserköpfe, Verstärkermodule
Category: laser devices and laser physics
How to cite the article; suggest additional literature
Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta
The term laser head is used with completely different meanings:
- It can be a gain module (or laser module, pump chamber), i.e., an assembly containing a mounted gain medium, usually together with other parts for pumping and possibly cooling the medium. For optical pumping, a laser head can contain arc lamps or flash lamps, laser diodes, or a connection to a fiber-coupled pump source. A complete laser is obtained by placing a laser head in a laser resonator (see Figure 1). Laser heads (without resonators) can often be purchased separately, so that different kinds of laser resonators can be built, depending on the specific demands.
- A laser head may also be an assembly containing the complete optical setup (with the laser resonator), possibly excluding the power supply and fiber-coupled pump diodes, which are then in one or two separate housings.
- In laser-based manufacturing, such as laser cutting, welding or soldering, a laser head can be the assembly from which the laser beam exits toward the workpiece. A laser cutting head (or other laser processing head) may not contain the laser source, but the focusing optics, a protection glass, and also additional facilities e.g. to direct a gas flow to the cutting zone. The light may enter the laser head via a high power optical fiber cable. See the article on laser processing heads for more details.
The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 18 suppliers for laser heads. Among them:
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See also: laser processing heads, lasers, pump chambers, laser gain media, diode-pumped lasers, lamp-pumped lasers, laser cooling units
and other articles in the category laser devices and laser physics
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