how does a laser work

How does a laser work?

Request a demo

How does a laser work - Basics

In this video, we will roughly show you the operating principle and the layout of a laser.

The term "Laser"

LASER is an acronym that stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation". Simply put: Light particles (photons) react with current and emit energy in the form of light. This light is then bundled into a beam and so the laser beam is created.


Technical structure of a laser

How do lasers work

Laser technology basics

Every laser contains three components:

  1. An external pump source
  2. The active laser medium
  3. The resonator

The pump source allows external energy to travel to the laser.

The active laser medium is found on the inside of the laser machine. Depending on the design, the laser medium can consist of a gas mixture (CO2 laser), of a crystal body (YAG laser) or glass fibers (fiber laser). When the produced energy is subsequently lead to the laser medium through the pump, it emits energy in the form of radiation.

The active laser medium is placed in the middle of two mirrors, commonly known as the "resonator". One of these mirrors is a one-way mirror. The radiation of the active laser medium is amplified in the resonator. Having said this, only certain radiation can leave the resonator through the one-way mirror. This bundled radiation is what creates the laser radiation.


Properties of a laser beam: monochromatic and high coherence

Laser radiation has three fundamental properties:

  1. Monochromatic. This means that the radiation only consists of one wavelength.
  2. High coherence and thereby phase coincidence.
  3. The waves of the laser are thus considered parallel due to the coherence.

Because of these properties, the laser light is used in many areas of modern material processing. The intensity of the laser is maintained for an extended period of time due to the coherence and can be bundled even further through lenses. The laser beam influences the material surface, is absorbed and thus heats the material. Due to this generation of heat, the material can either be removed or completely evaporated. It is thus possible to engrave, to mark or to cut a multitude of materials.


Further information regarding laser engraving, cutting and marking

How does engraving, cutting and marking with a laser work? We show you in these videos

laser engraver speedy

Contact us

You want to learn more about how Trotec laser machines work?

Our laser experts are happy to answer your questions about our products and laser processing. They will help you discover all the possibilities of laser engraving, cutting and marking. Additionally we invite you to see our lasers and applications at one of our demonstration facilities.

Contact us