Laser Cutting Machine Considerations – Elena

The material that we are going to cut determines the type of laser suitable for a laser cutting application. However, there may be other factors to consider when selecting and setting up a laser cutting machine for a specific application. Such as the machine configuration, laser power, wavelength, temporal mode, spatial mode, and focal spot size.

Laser Power:

The laser power, or wattage, can increase or decrease the total processing time for a cutting application. This occurrence is due to the increasing intensity of the beam as the laser’s power increases (Power density (Intensity) = P/πr2). The price of a laser cutting machine is typically dependent upon the power of the laser; the more powerful the laser, the more expensive the equipment. Therefore manufacturers and job shops must find a balance between processing costs and equipment costs. When choosing a laser machine based on laser power.


The wavelength of the laser beam is the spatial length of one complete cycle of vibration for a photon within the beam. Besides the particular wavelength of the laser beam partially determines the material’s radiation absorption rate. Which is what allows the material to be heated, melted, and vaporized to produce the necessary cuts.

Beam Mode:

The mode refers to how the laser beam’s intensity is distributed across the cross-sectional area of the beam. The mode affects the size of the beam’s focal spot and the intensity of the beam, which in turns affects the quality of the cut. Typically, the optimal mode has a Gaussian intensity distribution (TEM00).

Focal Spot:

The beam is directed through a lens or a specialized mirror and focused to a small spot of high intensity. The point at which the beam’s diameter is the smallest that we calle the focal spot, or focus. However, the optimal position of the focus for a laser cutting application is dependent on several factors. Including the material’s properties and thickness, beam shape and mode, type of assist gas, and the state of the focal lens.

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