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Yellow and Orange Lasers

Definition: lasers emitting yellow or orange light

More general term: visible lasers

German: gelbe und orange Laser

Category: laser devices and laser physicslaser devices and laser physics


Cite the article using its DOI: https://doi.org/10.61835/9l3

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This article discusses laser sources emitting in the yellow to orange spectral region, i.e. with a wavelength roughly around 570–625 nm. This spectral region is relatively difficult to access, at least when high output power, beam quality and power efficiency are required. Nevertheless, various types of yellow and orange laser sources exist:

  • InGaP-based laser diodes may emit orange light e.g. around 610 nm [1]. The shorter the wavelength, the more difficult it is to obtain a good power efficiency and long lifetime.
  • Praseodymium/ytterbium-doped upconversion lasers, e.g. based on fluoride fibers, can emit orange light with wavelengths around 605 nm [2].
  • Dye lasers can cover the whole yellow–orange spectral region.
  • Helium–neon lasers can utilize an orange laser transitions at 612 nm and 594.1 nm.
  • Copper vapor lasers can emit pulses of yellow light at 578 nm [5].
  • There are various types of frequency-doubled lasers, where the actual laser emits in the 1.1–1.2-μm spectral region and a frequency doubler converts this radiation into orange or yellow light. For example, a Cr4+:MgSiO4 (forsterite) laser can cover this spectral range [3]. There are also optically pumped semiconductor lasers (VECSELs) based on GaInNAs or InGaAs quantum wells, which can generate orange or yellow light via intracavity frequency doubling [7, 8].
  • Some yellow or orange laser sources are based on sum frequency generation. For example, mixing the outputs of two Nd:YVO4 lasers emitting at 1064 nm and 1342 nm, respectively, results in orange light with 593.5 nm. There are even laser pointers containing such a source, but these are fairly expensive.
  • Optical parametric oscillators may emit orange or yellow light, when pumped with a blue laser.
  • There are Raman lasers, often based on Raman-active bulk crystals (e.g. tungstate crystals), which can either generate orange or yellow light from green pump light [4], or generate light with wavelengths around 1.1–1.2 μm with a 1-μm pump source [6], so that subsequent frequency doubling or sum frequency generation leads to orange or yellow light.

Orange and yellow laser sources are applied e.g. for laser guide stars (sodium laser beacons) and in medical laser therapies (e.g. photocoagulation in ophthalmology). Orange or even yellow laser pointers are not common.

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The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 40 suppliers for yellow and orange lasers. Among them:


[1]C. J. Nuese et al., “Orange laser emission and bright electroluminescence from In1-xGaxP vapor-grown p–n junctions”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 20, 431 (1972); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1654004
[2]P. Xie and T. R. Gosnell, “Room-temperature upconversion fiber laser tunable in the red, orange, green, and blue spectral regions”, Opt. Lett. 20 (9), 1014 (1995); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.20.001014
[3]A. Sennaroglu, “Broadly tunable continuous-wave orange-red source based on intracavity-doubled Cr4+:forsterite laser”, Appl. Opt. 41 (21), 4356 (2002); https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.41.004356
[4]R. P. Mildren et al., “Efficient, all-solid-state, Raman laser in the yellow, orange and red”, Opt. Express 12 (5), 785 (2004); https://doi.org/10.1364/OPEX.12.000785
[5]E. Le Guyadec et al., “A large volume copper vapor +HCl–H2 laser with a high average power”, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 41 (6), 879 (2005); https://doi.org/10.1109/JQE.2005.846686
[6]R. P. Mildren et al., “Discretely tunable, all-solid-state laser in the green, yellow and red”, Opt. Lett. 30 (12), 1500 (2005); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.30.001500
[7]J. Rautiainen et al., “2.7 W tunable orange-red GaInNAs semiconductor disk laser”, Opt. Express 15 (26), 18345 (2007); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.15.018345
[8]M. Fallahi et al., “5-W yellow laser by intracavity frequency doubling of high-power vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser”, IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 20 (20), 1700 (2008); https://doi.org/10.1109/LPT.2008.2003413
[9]Z. Liu et al., “Self-frequency-doubled KTiOAsO4 Raman laser emitting at 573 nm”, Opt. Lett. 34 (14), 2183 (2009); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.34.002183
[10]H. Zhu et al., “Yellow-light generation of 5.7 W by intracavity doubling self-Raman laser of YVO4/Nd:YVO4 composite”, Opt. Lett. 34 (18), 2763 (2009); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.34.002763
[11]L. R. Taylor et al., “50 W CW visible laser source at 589 nm obtained via frequency doubling of three coherently combined narrow-band Raman fibre amplifiers”, Opt. Express 18 (8), 8540 (2010); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.008540
[12]Z. Cong et al., “Theoretical and experimental study on the Nd:YAG/BaWO4/KTP yellow laser generating 8.3 W output power”, Opt. Express 18 (12), 12111 (2010); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.012111
[13]J. Rautiainen et al., “2.5 W orange power by frequency conversion from a dual-gain quantum-dot disk laser”, Opt. Lett. 35 (12), 1935 (2010); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.35.001935
[14]D. Pabœuf et al., “Diode-pumped Pr:BaY2F8 continuous-wave orange laser”, Opt. Lett. 36 (2), 280 (2011); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.36.000280
[15]E. Kantola et al., “High-efficiency 20 W yellow VECSEL”, Opt. Express 22 (6), 6372 (2014); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.22.006372
[16]B. Ernstberger et al., “Robust remote-pumping sodium laser for advanced LIDAR and guide star applications”, Proc. SPIE, 9641, 96410F (2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2194874
[17]R. Bege et al., “Watt-level second-harmonic generation at 589 nm with a PPMgO:LN ridge waveguide crystal pumped by a DBR tapered diode laser”, Opt. Lett. 41 (7), 1530 (2016); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.41.001530
[18]M. Lord et al., “Monolithic silica fiber laser operating at 585 nm”, Opt. Lett. 48 (2), 514 (2023); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.480592
[19]D. Mitten et al., “High output power, single mode, and TEM00 operation of a multiple gain chip VECSEL using a twisted-mode configuration”, Opt. Express 31 (8), 12680 (2023); https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.486113
[20]Yu Fu et al., “Intracavity frequency-doubled yellow laser in an electron–phonon-coupled Nd:YVO4 crystal”, Opt. Lett. 49 (3), 578 (2024); https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.515131

(Suggest additional literature!)

Questions and Comments from Users


I saw a yellow beam of light as large as a soccer ball coming from a window from the house across the street where I live. What could be happening there?

The author's answer:

There are orange and yellow laser pointers, although they are not common. So I guess someone played around with such a device. Maybe the beam looked large due to the glare.


It looks like 561nm laser pointers have become available in the last year. I assume that they use laser diodes. However, searches for 561 nm laser diodes didn't yield any results.

The author's answer:

Indeed, 561-nm diode lasers seem not to be possible so far. There are two other approaches:

  • There are diode-pumped solid-state Nd:YAG lasers operating at 1123 nm (a somewhat difficult transition) with subsequent frequency doubling to 561 nm.
  • There are 1123-nm laser diodes. Simply using such a diode and adding a frequency doubler for converting the light to 561 nm would not be efficient, but there are AR-coated diodes for realizing external cavity lasers where a frequency doubler can be incorporated.

In both cases, this is sophisticated technology, which consistent with the relatively high prices.

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