10W LASERS

Overview of 10W Laser Technologies and Product Options

Author: Stephen Gwinner
Updated: June 2, 2024

10W LASER TECHNOLOGY BASICS:

10W lasers are typically designed and manufactured based on two types of underlying technology categories. Solid state lasers and gas lasers. The first category includes semiconductor laser diodes and diode pumped solid state lasers. The second, gas lasers, is primarily comprised of carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers. The focus of this website is diode lasers, which are a sub-category of solid state lasers. 10 watt lasers are used in many different application segments. The most common segments are laser cutting, materials processing and engraving. This inlcudes laser based printers and CNC machines for materials processing applications. In addition to commerical products which are manufactured utilizing this laser power level, there is a very large hobbyist community using 10 watt lasers for various materials processing projects.

TYPICAL PRICES OF COMMON 10W LASER TECHNOLOGIES:

  • 10W Pulsed 808nm T0-Can Packaged Laser Diode: < $50
  • 10W Free Space Laser for a Hobbyist 3D Printer: $500
  • 10W Fiber Coupled 940nm Laser Diode: $350
  • 10W Blue Laser for Laser Shows: $10,000
  • 10W LASERS USED FOR EXCITATION OF GAIN MEDIUMS:

    The 10W power level is also used as a high intensity pump source for the excitation of the various gain mediums used in high power lasers. This includes their use as a high power pump for specialty doped optical fiber in fiber lasers and for pumping a crystal in a DPSS laser. Beyond cutting and pumping applications, this laser power class is used extensively in laser light shows and for displays. There are 637 nm red, 445 nm blue and 520 nm green lasers in this power range for display and light show applictions. Finally, there are 10W lasers used in medical/aesthetic, dental, dermatology, interferometry, holography and many scientific research applications. As an example, this article gives an overview of 10W lasers being used in a dental application.



    SHOP 10W LASERS FROM LEADING BRANDS BY WAVELENGTH:

    10W LASERS FOR ENGRAVING AND CUTTING:

    In general, a 10W CW (continuous wave) level of light intensity can be used to cut paper, wood and some acrylics. This power intenstity is typically not enough power to work with metals, such as stainless steel. To give this some perspective, it is limited to cutting depths of a few millimeters in a piece of plywood. A 10W laser for a hobbyist 3D printer or CNC machine for laser engraving can be purchased for around $500. This price includes the diode laser mounted into an aluminum heat sink enclosure with a simple power conroller unit. The power controller unit is used to provide the user a way to scale the laser power from 0 ~ 10W. It's also used to condition the input from the power supply to protect the internal laser diode. This video offers a good overview of this laser class and how it is used on a hobbyist 3D printer:

    An Endurance Laser 10W Laser Used for Cutting Materials


    NEAR INFRARED 10 WATT LASER DIODES FOR PUMPING:

    10W diode lasers are prevantly available at near infrared wavelengths such as 808nm, 915nm and 976nm. These are often single emitters. This simply means that they have a single laser diode chip inside the package which produces the full 10 watts of laser output power. This commercial class of laser is manufactured in high volume and offers a relatively low cost per watt (relative to other 10 watt laser techologies). For example, a fiber-coupled 10W laser diode at 940nm can be purchased for around $400. A 10W laser diode at 808nm in a high heat load fiber-coupled package can be purchased for around $750. TO-Can packaged devices (no fiber) are avaliable at much lower price levels and can be found on sites like Mouser for less than $100. 10W laser diodes are used to pump the crystal in an Nd:YAG laser and are used as an excitation source in fiber lasers. These two applications are just a couple of examples of the many types of pumping applications.


    10W LASERS FOR DISPLAYS AND LIGHT SHOWS:

    RGB lasers for display applications with 10W of output power range in price from around $5,000 up to around $12,000. The most common blue laser is at the 445 nm wavelength. The most common red wavelengths are 637 nm or 660 nm. The green laser is at 520 nm. There are multiple mixes and combinations of these wavelengths to produce gradients and variation across the RGB spectrum. But keep in mind that these laser modules are offered in weather-proof housings and have accomodations for beam conditioning (such as beam divergence reduction). This makes them far more expensive that the semicondutor laser diode sources which are mounted inside of the module. The module often houses multiple lower power lasers which are combined through optics to produce the 10W output power. The video below does a great job comparing the intenstity of various RGB lasers at power levels from 3 up to 30 watts.

    Visible Laser Intensity Comparison from 3 watts to 30 Watts of Power