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Laser Heads

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


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URL: https://www.rp-photonics.com/laser_heads.html

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.
simple laser resonator
Figure 1: A simple continuous-wave laser consists only of a diode-pumped laser head and two mirrors around it. Source: Cutting Edge Optronics.
  • 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:

See also: laser processing heads, lasers, pump chambers, laser gain media, diode-pumped lasers, lamp-pumped lasers, laser cooling units

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