Posted on 01.31.2019 by Aaron Grimes

The Definitive Guide to MOPA Fiber Lasers

Last Updated on Mar 25, 2024

Laser Education

Lasers play an integral role in our society. No doubt one of the most important innovations of modern times, the laser is used across many different industries, including in such diverse fields as automotive, aerospace, medical, oil & gas, electronics and more.

The laser has evolved significantly since Theodore Maiman created the first working system for the technology in 1960, using ruby as a lasing medium that was stimulated with high-energy flashes of intense light from commercial flash lamps.

In the early years of the laser, most applications were found in the defense and industrial sectors, but as technology evolved, the laser expanded into many other industries and began to be used in varied applications.

Among these innovations is the invention of the MOPA laser, which has the capability to mark, etch and engrave products for identification, personalization or decorative purposes.

Exceed Your Production Expectations with a Laser Engraving System

What Is a MOPA Laser and How Does It Work?

Although there are many laser systems on the market today, the MOPA fiber laser system is one of the most innovative and technologically advanced systems you can find.

In order to fully understand what a MOPA laser is, we must first dissect it into two parts: the MOPA technology and the actual fiber laser marking machine.

A Look at MOPA Laser Technology

The term MOPA is actually an acronym for Master Oscillator Power Amplifier. This type of technology was a breakthrough in DUV light source design.

In traditional, single-chamber light sources, there is a trade-off between bandwidth and power, forcing you to choose between compromising either performance or cost-effectiveness. But by utilizing a MOPA fiber laser marking machine, you no longer have to compromise and can get an incredibly efficient system for your investment.

The MOPA design has two gas discharge chambers: the master oscillator and the power amplifier.

  • The master oscillator generates light with a low amount of energy in a tight spectrum
  • Following this action, the light is then passed through the second chamber, the power amplifier, which intensifies the light to reach the necessary power levels

What Is a Fiber Laser?

fiber laser marking machine

Fiber lasers are similar to their various counterparts in the laser industry, except the active gain medium is made up of an optical fiber with doped rare-earth elements. These elements may include erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium, and thulium.

These MOPA fiber lasers use less energy and take up less space than other laser systems, saving you money and helping your business run more efficiently. They still, however, deliver high-quality markings, etchings, and engravings, meaning you don’t need to sacrifice anything.

The MOPA fiber laser is the best of both worlds.

As with all lasers, the process of how a MOPA fiber laser begins is the same. In order to create the light, you need to get the atoms in an excited state. As they move, they create a weak light that becomes more concentrated as more energy is added. Once this beam of light is created, it is amplified in some way to produce a focal point. In MOPA lasers, an optical amplifier is used to create the focal point.

This is a configuration that consists of a master oscillator, which is a single-frequency laser used to inject lock one or several other lasers, and the optical amplifier.

The master oscillator produces a highly coherent beam, which is then amplified by the optical amplifier to increase the output power while preserving the main properties of the oscillator.

If it also contains a fiber amplifier to boost the output power, these types of laser systems may also be referred to as master oscillator fiber amplifiers (MOFA).

With the ability to modify and increase the output power without changing the geometry, shape, or operation principle, MOPA fiber lasers are the most popular way to achieve power scaling.

The Differences Between MOPA Fiber Laser and YAG Laser Engravers

To learn why MOPA laser engravers are a better option for your company than YAG laser engravers, it’s best to first understand the differences between these technologies.

YAG laser engraving machines and MOPA fiber laser engraving machines both have the capabilities to mark, etch and engrave on a variety of surfaces and materials. YAG laser engravers are outdated and outclassed when compared to MOPA lasers, though, as MOPA lasers offer the highest beam quality, long diode life, and more.

Though the two types of laser systems operate similarly, more and more companies are discovering the competitive advantage of using MOPA fiber laser systems instead of their outdated counterparts.

YAG Lasers Engravers

Also known as flash lamps or lamp-pumped lasers, the YAG lasers found in YAG laser engraving machines utilize a bulb as a pumping mechanism and a YAG crystal as the gain medium. These both reside in an optical resonator, typically a gold-plated cavity, which reflects the light and helps with the process of creating the laser light.

Although many companies still use these types of laser systems, they are considered to be outdated and lack many of the advantageous qualities you will find with a MOPA fiber laser system.

For example, the bulbs for YAG lasers have a short lifespan and require frequent replacement. They also create large amounts of heat, therefore requiring water-cooling measures.

The YAG lasers are also very inefficient and prone to common misalignment and adjustment problems. For these reasons, investing in a YAG laser engraving machine is often a poor choice when it comes to long-term prospects for a company.

MOPA Fiber Laser Engravers

Unlike the lasers of YAG laser engraving machines, MOPA fiber lasers utilize semiconductor diodes as the pumping mechanism and a doped fiber optic cable as the gain medium. For these fiber lasers, the doped fiber optic also serves as the resonator.

MOPA fiber lasers are much more reliable and efficient than previous laser technologies. With these fiber laser marking systems, you know you are getting the best technology on the market.

The Advantages of a Fiber Laser Marking System

There are many advantages to choosing a MOPA laser system beyond just the reliability and efficiency of these fiber laser marking machines.

Other advantages of utilizing our MOPA fiber laser machines include:

  • Highest beam quality
  • Air-cooling with high ambient air temperature operating capabilities
  • Very efficient operation with low power consumption
  • A virtually maintenance-free design
  • Longest diode life (up to 100,000 hours)
  • Extended warranties that surpass other technologies
  • The MOPA laser design allows for maximum application flexibility
  • High peak power and long pulse durations, allowing for high-speed aggressive marking and deep engraving applications
  • Easy to integrate within your operations
  • Easy to service, with 24/7 customer support supplied by TYKMA Electrox, along with downloads, training, and tutorials
  • A rugged, compact design
  • Invulnerable to the misalignment and adjustment problems found in YAG lasers

Fiber lasers are typically available in two different configurations in the laser marking industry: Q-Switched or MOPA. Q-Switched fiber lasers are reliable and powerful but have limited flexibility compared to MOPA fiber laser engines. TYKMA Electrox offers MOPA-based fiber lasers in all of its standard products.

Why Technique Is So Important for Your Fiber Laser Marking Machine

Whether you’re using a MOPA fiber laser or a YAG laser, the technique is extremely important. Lasers are flexible and can be used in a multitude of ways. No other type of engraving technology offers the ability to create such a wide variety of mark types on materials.

For more information about marking techniques, check out our applications library where you can learn more about MOPA laser capabilities and material-specific applications.

FAQs on MOPA Fiber Lasers

What materials are ideal for marking with MOPA fiber lasers?

When using a MOPA laser, some materials that are ideal for marking include carbide, anodized or painted materials, most plastics, all metals, and more.

How do you maintain a laser system?

Regular maintenance is crucial if you want your system to operate at its best. One thing you’ll want to do is extract fumes and other harmful materials that are produced during the laser marking process. Also, you’ll want to clean your system thoroughly after each use and stay up to date with training to keep your system well maintained.

Which factors should be considered when selecting a MOPA laser for specific applications?

Before choosing a fiber laser marking machine, you’ll want to take into consideration output power requirements, marking depth, budget limits, material compatibility and other aspects.

Are there safety considerations to keep in mind with MOPA lasers?

To ensure complete safety, it’s recommended to wear eye protection. Without protective wear in place, a laser could cause eye damage during an accident. Also, depending on the lasers you are utilizing, there are various safety precautions to follow, so be sure to review them.

What types of marks can be produced with fiber laser marking?

Laser marking can produce many different types of marks such as QR codes, barcodes, alphanumeric characters, serial numbers, and more. Additionally, surface level markings, deep engravings, etchings, foaming marks, and even color laser markings are all possible applications.

Are MOPA fiber lasers environmentally friendly?

Yes! There are many features offered with fiber laser marking machines that make them environmentally friendly. Some key aspects include that they help minimize energy waste and also reduce the amount of scrap material produced during operations. They also require no consumables, unlike inkjet and other marking methods, making them better for the environment.

TYKMA Electrox’s Industry-Leading MOPA Fiber Lasers

At TYKMA Electrox, we strive to continuously provide our customers with the most innovative and high-quality laser marking, engraving and etching technology available. This means that each of our laser marking systems comes equipped with the latest MOPA laser technology.

With our MOPA fiber laser marking machines, you’ll receive maximum flexibility and better pulse duration control no matter the project. Our technology allows you to utilize selectable waveforms and an expansive frequency range, offering greater peak power at high frequencies. This also allows you to mark, etch or engrave on a wider variety of surfaces.

Fiber lasers commonly utilize a wavelength of 1.06 μm, which is optimal for absorption into a variety of materials with only a small percentage of the laser’s rays reflected. This extreme wavelength on MOPA fiber lasers is not ideal for more fragile materials, such as glass or wood, but it is suitable for many others.

Some of the materials and surfaces our fiber laser marking systems are compatible with include:

MOPA fiber lasers

The added MOPA laser technology allows our machines to also mark on difficult materials such as gold and nickel plating, as well as a variety of painted and anodized surfaces. With MOPA technology, you get more enhanced and definitive marks than you would with any other type of laser marking machine.

How Can a TYKMA Electrox Laser Help Your Company?

As you can see, the superior technology and marking capabilities of fiber lasers make them a much more efficient and effective option. And with our ability to create custom marking solutions with MOPA fiber lasers, TYKMA Electrox can work with any company to meet their unique application needs. Some of the industries we work with include:

MOPA fiber lasers

When it comes to the fiber laser marking of all types of metals and plastics, TYKMA Electrox has you covered. Our lasers continue to be components in vital equipment, services, and procedures that are leading the way in their respective fields.

Why Choose TYKMA Electrox for Your Fiber Laser Marking Machine

For over 55 years, TYKMA Electrox has been providing innovative and cutting-edge systems for fiber laser marking systems. Our engineers and knowledgeable staff members have a wealth of experience in a variety of industries.

When you choose TYKMA Electrox for your MOPA fiber laser, you’ll experience the following advantages:

  • Exceptional service, 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Long-term customer support and training
  • Technical phone support with 24-hour response agreements
  • Completely warrantied, customized solutions crafted to exacting international standards
  • Specialized workstation fabrication and design
  • Seamless system integration into existing processes
  • Straightforward setup, programming, and engraving
  • Onsite preventative maintenance and repair services

MOPA fiber lasers

Additionally, we supply a wide range of accessories, resources, and functionalities to our clients to ensure that they get the most out of their MOPA laser marking operations. We can provide:

Our Line of MOPA Fiber Lasers at TYKMA Electrox

At TYKMA Electrox, we want our customers to find the exact solution for their unique applications. This is why we offer diverse fiber laser marking systems with different functionalities and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a freestanding option, desktop system, or integration system, we have you covered.

Our line of MOPA fiber lasers includes:

MOPA fiber lasers

Beyond our MOPA fiber lasers, we also offer a variety of other laser engraving options, including UV laser systems, CO2 laser systems, and custom systems. Be sure to check out the differences between each of these in our blog post.

Incorporate MOPA Fiber Lasers into Your Facility Today

TYKMA Electrox has a long-standing history of providing industrial MOPA laser marking and engraving solutions to companies all over the world, so let us do the same for you. Our factory-trained engineers and technicians are ready to help with application and machine assistance for your fiber laser marking machine.

If you would like to learn more about our diverse line of fiber laser marking systems, contact us today!

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