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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  • Fiber-Couple Laser Scanner from ASI

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014
    ASI’s Fiber-Coupled Laser Scanner is a compact and versatile 2D galvo unit originally designed for generating SPIM light sheets. A user-provided light beam enters the scanner on a standard fiber optic connecter. The beam is steered in the sample plane using an electronically-controlled galvo ... read more
  • New Product Release: I-3033 & I-3078 Stage Inserts from ASI

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013
    The I-3033 stage insert from ASI fits a standard 110 x 160 mm opening found in most automated XY stages. The unit offers autoclavable stainless steel dish chamber with replaceable 25 mm glass coverslip bottoms in both 20 & 25 mm diameter sizes. The glass is sealed in place by an O-ring. read more
  • Femtosecond Laser Micromachining of Next-Generation Implantable Medical Devices Demonstrated

    Thursday, October 31, 2013
    Palmaz Scientific, Spectra-Physics® and Innovative Laser Technologies (ILT) announce the demonstration of femtosecond laser micromachining of next-generation implantable medical devices. With Spectra-Physics’ femtosecond lasers and ILT’s precision machining systems, Palmaz Scientific has ... read more
  • Portable Thermal Imaging Kits for Academic & Industrial Labs

    Monday, October 07, 2013
    FLIR Systems has expanded its range of highly affordable, entry level R&D grade thermal imaging kits for academic teaching and industrial research labs. read more
  • Thermal Imaging Helps Improve Pressure Shock Testing

    Thursday, August 29, 2013
    A new applications report from FLIR Systems details how the Safe Oxygen Working Group at the Federal Institute for Materials Research & Testing (BAM), Berlin, Germany are using a FLIR SC-Series thermal imaging camera to test the reaction of different materials and component designs to oxygen at ... read more