Laser cutting is one of the most popular innovative cutting techniques used in manufacturing and many other applications. However, have you ever wondered what causes a laser to burn? The answer lies in the type of lens used in the laser system. The lens plays a crucial role in how the laser energy is focused and distributed onto the material to be cut, drilled, or marked.
Here we will discuss different types of lenses that make a laser burn, and what considerations should be taken into account when choosing the right lens for optimal laser performance.
Understanding Laser Lenses
A laser lens is a cylindrical or spherical piece of glass or crystal that is placed within the laser resonator. The lens is responsible for focusing the laser beam down to a very small spot size, measured in microns, which allows for precise cuts, drilling, or marking on the surface of the material. The laser beam passes through the lens, which refracts the light, resulting in a focused beam of energy.
Convex Lenses and Laser Burning
Convex lenses are a common type of lens used in laser cutting systems. These lenses curve outward and have thicker edges than a center, allowing them to focus the laser beam more effectively. When used in a laser cutting system, a convex lens can create a focused spot size as small as 10 microns.
A convex lens is designed to burn the surface of the material being cut. The focused laser energy melts the surface of the material, causing it to evaporate and create a clean cut line. If a convex lens is not used or is not properly aligned in the laser system, the laser beam will not be focused enough to create a clean cut line, resulting in a rough cut edge.
Choosing the Perfect Lens for Laser Cutting
There are various types of lenses available for laser cutting systems, and selecting the right lens for the specific application is essential for optimal performance. Depending on the material being cut and the precision of the cut required, different lenses are used to obtain the desired cut quality.
Spherical and Cylindrical Lenses
Spherical lenses are also a popular type of lens used in laser cutting systems. Unlike convex lenses, they are not designed to burn the surface of the material. Instead, spherical lenses create a uniform beam distribution and focus the laser energy at a single point, resulting in a cut that is both clean and precise.
Cylindrical lenses, on the other hand, are used to produce slit cuts along the material being processed. These lenses have two axes and are either plano-convex or plano-concave. Laser energy passes through the lens, causing a refractive effect that produces a beam that is focused in one axis and defocused in the other.
Choosing the right lens for a laser cutting system is a crucial factor that affects the performance and precision of the cutting machine. A lens that is not properly aligned, damaged, or not of the right type can result in subpar cut quality or damage to the material being cut. Therefore, it is essential to consider the material being cut, the desired cut quality, and the specific application when selecting the right lens for a laser cutting system..