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Fiber & CO2 Lasers, Which One To Choose?

Dec. 30, 2019

What's the ultimate laser for your application – should I choose Fiber laser system, also known as Solid State Laser (SSL), or a CO2 laser system?

Answer: It depends on the type and thickness of the material you are cutting.

Why?: Due to the rate at which the material absorbs the laser. You need to choose the right laser for your application.

The absorption rate is influenced by the wavelength of the laser and also the angle of incidence. Different types of lasers have different wavelengths, for example, the fiber (SSL) laser’s wavelength is far smaller at 1 micron (on the right) than the CO2 lasers wavelength at 10 micron, shown on the left:

The angle of incidence means, the distance between the point at which the laser beam hits the material (or surface), perpendicular (at 90) to the surface, so where it makes a T shape.


The angle of incidence increases (shown as a1 and a2 below) as the material increases in thickness. You can see below that with the thicker material, the orange line is at a greater angle than the blue line on the diagram below.


Which laser type for which application?

Fiber Laser/SSL

Fiber lasers are best suited for high-contrast markings like metal annealing, etching, and engraving. They produce an extremely small focal diameter (resulting in intensity up to 100 times higher than a CO2 system), making them the ideal choice for permanent marking of serial numbers, barcodes, and data matrix on metals. Fiber lasers are widely used for product traceability (direct part marking) and identification applications.


· Speed – Faster than CO2 lasers in thin materials as the laser can be absorbed quickly with a slight lead in speed when cutting with Nitrogen (fusion cutting).

· Cost per part – less than the CO2  laser depending on sheet thickness.

· Safety – Strict safety precautions must be taken (the machine is completely enclosed) as the laser light (1µm) can pass through very narrow openings in the machine’s frame causing irreparable damage to the eye’s retina.

· Beam guidance – fiber optics.

CO2 Laser

CO2 laser marking is ideal for a wide range of non-metallic materials including plastics, textiles, glass, acrylic, wood, and even stone. They have used in pharmaceutical and food packaging as well as the marking of PVC pipes, building materials, mobile communications gadgets, electrical appliances, integrated circuits, and electronic components.


· Quality – Quality is consistent throughout all thicknesses of material.

· Flexibility – high, suitable for all material thicknesses.

· Safety – CO2 laser light (10µm) is better absorbed by the machine frame, which lowers the risk of irreparable damage to the retina. Personnel should not look directly at the cutting process through the acrylic panel in the door as the bright plasma also presents a risk to sight over a period of time. (Similar to looking at the sun.)

· Beam guidance – mirror optics.

· Cutting with Oxygen (flame cutting) – there is no difference in quality or speed shown between the two types of lasers.

MimoWork LLC is focusing on the CO2 laser machine which includes CO2 laser cutting machine, CO2 laser engraving machine and CO2 laser perforating machine. With over 20 years of combined expertise in the worldwide laser application industry, MimoWork offers clients comprehensive services, integrated solutions and results are unparalleled. MimoWork values our customers, we located in the US and China to offer comprehensive supports.