Fibre lasers are compact and energy efficient laser systems that offer the best beam quality for applications where precision is important. As the technology is based on an optical fibre, the absence of free-space optics and mechanical components provides excellent system stability and long product lifetime. Directing the laser radiation to the point of application via an optical fibre ensures safe operation for humans and simplicity of integration into robotics. Hence, in a diverse range of industries, replacing conventional laser or non-laser technologies with fibre lasers can maximize process speed and precision while minimizing operation costs.
Inside a fibre laser, rare-earth metal dopants function as the gain medium and determine the output wavelength. 1-micron, 1.5-micron and 2-micron are the common infra-red (IR) wavelength bands optimized for applications in material processing, sensing and healthcare.
Mid-IR supercontinuum (broadband) laser sources and visible light frequency-multiplied laser sources are also available for specialist applications in sensing and healthcare, respectively. Fibre lasers can easily achieve multi-kilowatt average output powers or function as ultrafast pulsed energy sources depending on the system architecture.
According to IDTechEx' report Fiber Lasers 2018-2028: Technologies, Opportunities, Markets & Forecasts, fibre lasers have already a large share in the laser material processing market but ongoing technology innovations led by key suppliers such as IPG Photonics (USA) enable such lasers to further replace competing laser and non-laser technologies.