Lasers and Optical Components

Lasers and Optical Components Lasers and optical components, which encompass the many instruments and accessories needed to harness the power of light, are found in almost every scientific industry, in areas such as:
  • Biological research
  • Genomics
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Particle analysis
  • And more!
Unique properties of laser light include its ability to propagate over long lengths without divergence and its very narrow optical bandwidth. There are three primary components: an optical resonator comprising two or more mirrors, a gain medium to amplify the light, and an energy source or pump to excite the particles in the gain medium.

How do I choose a laser or optical component?

There is a laser suited for every application, including
  • Solid-state varieties, such as Nd:YAG and Ti:Sapphire
  • Gas lasers, including helium-neon (common in interferometry)
  • CO2 and N2 lasers, dye lasers, and semiconductor lasers, or laser diodes.
Wavelength (UV, NIR, FIR); beam diameter, intensity, and divergence; and output power are important parameters to keep an eye on. The laser light can be emitted continuously or in pulses down to femtosecond duration, a type commonly used in photochemistry. Optics such as beamsplitters and mirrors are optimized for use with each type of laser.

Lasers are very useful sources in spectroscopy, such as Raman, in any operating range from the UV to the NIR. High power densities enable laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), a compelling technique for a wide range of sample matrices.

Laser illumination has also taken optical microscopy to new levels of resolution; techniques include confocal laser scanning, two-photon excitation microscopy, and optical coherence tomography.

Accessories to facilitate this work include optical benches, filter wheels, shutters, and stages.

Advances in micromanipulation systems, nanopositioners, optical tweezers, and piezo scanners continue to push this technology forward.

What’s new in lasers and optical components?

Through the integration of single-photon detectors with nanophotonic chips, reliable detection of single photons for optical data transmission and quantum computations has been achieved—a leap that may further advance the noninvasive study of insulin-producing pancreatic cells.

Also noteworthy are the introduction of an aberration-free imaging spectrograph, the availability of portable, lower-cost Raman spectrophotometers, and a multipurpose instrument with the ability to analyze the Raman spectra of microscopic samples in addition to UV-VIS -NIR and fluorescence microspectroscopy.

Discover and lasers and optical components:

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