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Types of Solid-State Lasers. Learn more about wavelength and different abilities.

Types of Solid-State Lasers. Learn more about wavelength and different abilities.

Wavelengths of different lasers

Lasers with clear lines of radiation are shown at the top, while lasers capable of radiating ranging wavelengths are shown below.  The height of the lines and bands corresponds to the maximum energies of commercially available lasers; the solid lines denote continuous radiation, and the dotted lines denote pulsed. The solid green squares are the power of a single semiconductor laser, the horizontal green lines are the power increase of multiple lasers. For Ar + -Kr +, only the main lines are labeled, the rest are marked as short lines. The wavelength scale combines linear and logarithmic scales. The color highlights various materials of laser pumping (see the description of the figure). The data are given in accordance with the Handbook of laser wavelengths, with the table adding new types of lasers, including semiconductor ones.

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Gas Lasers

Laser working mediumWavelengthLaser exciterApplication
HeNe lasers632,8 nm (543,5; 593,9; 611,8 nm, 1,1523; 1,52; 3,3913 um)Electric dischargeInterferometry, holography, spectroscopy, barcode reading, demonstration of optical effects.
Argon lasers488,0; 514,5 nm, (351; 465,8; 472,7; 528,7 nm)Electric dischargeRetina treatment, lithography, pumping of other lasers.
Kr lasers416; 530,9; 568,2; 647,1; 676,4; 752,5; 799,3 nmElectric dischargeScientific researches, laser shows, white light lasers (combined with Argon)
Xe lasersMany spectral lines throughout the entire visible spectrum and partially in the UV and IR ranges.Electric dischargeScientific researches
N2 lasers337,1 nm (316; 357 nm)Electric dischargeDye laser pumping, atmospheric pollution research, research, educational lasers
Hydrogen-fluorine laser2,7—2,9 um (Hydrogen-fluorine) 3,6—4,2 um (deuterium fluoride)The chemical reaction of combustion of ethylene and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)), initiated by electric discharge (pulsed mode)Operate in a continuous mode in the ranges of megawatt power and in a pulse mode in the range of terawatt power. One of the most powerful lasers. Laser weapons. Laser Thermonuclear Fusion (LTF).
Chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL)1,315 umThe chemical reaction in the flame of singlet oxygen and iodineWork in a continuous mode in the range of megawatt capacity. A pulse option is also available. Scientific research, laser weapons. Processing of materials. Laser Thermonuclear Fusion (LTF). In perspective: the source of pumping of neodymium lasers and X-ray laser systems.


CO2 laser (CO2)10,6 um, (9,6 um)Transverse (high power) or longitudinal (low power) electric discharge, chemical reaction (DF-CO2 laser)Materials processing  (cutting, welding), surgery.
Carbon monoxide laser (CO)2,5—4,2 um, 4,8—8,3 umElectric discharge, chemical reactionMaterials processing  (cutting, engraving etc.), photoacoustic spectroscopy
Excimer laser193 nm (ArF), 248 nm (KrF), 308 nm (XeCl), 353 nm (XeF)Recombination of excimer molecules at the electric dischargeUV lithography in the semiconductor industry, laser surgery, vision correction.


Dye Lasers

Laser working mediumWavelengthLaser exciterApplication
Dye Lasers390—435 nm (Stilbene), 460—515 нм (Coumarin102), 570—640 nm (Rhodamine 6G), othersAnother laser, pulse lamp.Researches, spectroscopy, cosmetic surgery, isotope separation. The operation range is determined by the dye type.


Metal Vapor Lasers

Laser working mediumWavelengthLaser exciterApplication
Helium-cadmium metal vapor lasers

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440 nm, 325 nmElectric discharge in the mixture of metal vapors and HeliumPolygraphy, UV currency detectors, research.

metal vapor lasers

567 nm, 615 nmElectric discharge in the mixture of metal vapors and HeliumArcheology, research, educational lasers.
He-Se metal vapor lasersUp to 24 spectral bands, from red to UV

Electric discharge in the mixture of metal vapors and Helium

Electrical discharge in the mixture of metal vapors and HeliumArcheology, research, educational lasers.
Copper vapor laser510,6 nm, 578,2 nmElectric dischargeDermatology, speed photography, Dye laser pumping
Gold vapor laser627 nmElectric dischargeArcheology, medicine.


Solid-State Lasers

Laser working mediumWavelengthLaser exciterApplication
Ruby lasers694,3 nmPulse lampHolography, tattoo removal. First represented type of the laser (1960).
Nd:YAG lasers1,064 um, (1,32 um)Pulse lamp, laser diodeMaterial processing, laser range finders, laser target marker, surgery, research, pumping of other lasers. One of the most common high power lasers. Usually works in a pulse mode (fractions of nanoseconds). Often used in combination with a frequency doubling and a corresponding change in wavelength by 532 nm. Known designs with a quasi-continuous radiation mode.


Neodymium-doped yttrium-lithium fluoride lasers (Nd:YLF)1,047 and 1,053 umPulse lamp, laser diodeTitanium-sapphire laser pumping using the effect of frequency-doubling in non-linear optics.
Nd:YVO4  lasers1,064 umLaser diodesTitanium-sapphire laser pumping using the effect of frequency-doubling in non-linear optics.
Nd: Glass lasers~1,062 um (Silicate glass), ~1,054 um (Phosphate glass)Puls lamp, laser diodesLasers of ultrahigh power (terawatts) and energy (megajoules). Usually, work in the nonlinear mode of frequency tripling up to 351 nm in laser melting devices. Laser Thermonuclear Fusion (LTF). X-ray lasers pumping.
Titanium-sapphire lasers650—1100 nmOther lasersSpectroscopy, laser rangefinders, research.
Tm:YAG lasers2,0 umLaser diodesLaser radar (LIDAR)
Yb:YAG lasers1,03 umPulse lamp, laser diodesMaterial processing, ultrashort pulse research, multiphoton microscopy, laser range finders.
Ho:YAG lasers2,1 umLaser diodesMedicine
Ce:LiSAF, Ce:LiCAF lasers~280-316 nmNd:YAG laser with  frequency quadrupling, Excimer laser, Hg-vapor laser.Atmospheric research, laser rangefinders, scientific research.
Chrome-doped alexandrite lasersHas a range of 700-820 nmPulse lamp, laser diodes.   Arc mercury lamp for continuous operationDermatology, laser  rangefinders.
Erbium-doped fiber-optics lasers1,53-1,56 umLaser diodesOptical amplifiers in fiber-optic communication lines, metal processing (cutting, welding, engraving), thermal splitting of glass, medicine, cosmetology.


Uranium-doped calcium fluoride lasers (U:CaF2)2,5 umPulse lampThe first 4-level solid-state laser, the second operating type of laser (after the Mayman ruby laser), cooled with liquid helium, is not used anywhere today.
Zinc / cadmium chalcogenide lasers doped with transition metals (chromium, iron)  (TM2+:AIIBVI, Cr2+:ZnSe, Fe2+:ZnSe)Cr2+ 1,9-3,6 um, Fe2+ 4-5.5 umfor Cr2+-doped active medium — laser diode, Erbium or Thulium fiber lasers, for Fe2++ -doped active medium  Er: YAG laser (2.94 um)Wide-bandwidth solid-state lasers, generation of femtosecond laser pulses


Semiconductor Lasers

Laser working mediumWavelengthLaser exciterApplication
Semiconductor laser diodesThe wavelength depends on the material and structure of the active zone:

near UV, violet, blue – Ga, Al semiconductor nitrides;

red, near infrared range – compounds based on Al, Ga, As;

near and middle infrared range – compounds containing In, P, Sb;

Medium IR — Far Infrared — lead salts;

medium IR – terahertz range – semiconductor quantum-cascade lasers

Electric current, optical pumpingTelecommunications, holography, laser designators, laser printers, pumping of other laser types. AlGaAs lasers (aluminum-gallium-arsenide) operating at 780 nm are used in CD players and are the most common in the world.


Other Types of Lasers

Laser working mediumWavelengthLaser exciterApplication
Free electron lasersThe x-ray laser  wavelength ranges between 0,085 – 6 nmBundle of relativistic


Atmospheric research, materials science, medicine, missile defense.
Pseudo-nickel samarie lasersX-ray radiation  7,3—15 umRadiation in a super-hot samarium plasma produced by double pulses of a neodymium laser.The first demonstration laser operating in the range of hard x-rays. It can be used in ultra-high-resolution microscopes and holography. Its radiation lies in the “window of transparency” of water and allows to explore the structure of DNA, the activity of viruses in cells, the effect of drugs.


Color center laserWavelength 0,8—4 umOptic, flash lamp, laser lamp, electron beam


Spectroscopy, medicine.


based on Wikipedia and Marvin Weber.

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