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Mound Laser Blog

Nov 29, 2012

Laser Myth Busting

Posted 11-29-2012

Laser Myth Busting #5: Ultrafast Lasers & Popcorn

Myth: True or False: Lasers can be used to pop popcorn.

TRUE: In this video, we highlight the difference between using a nanosecond and femtosecond (ultrafast) pulse duration laser. When using the ultrafast laser, there is no heat input into the popcorn due to the 350 femtosecond pulse duration. This ultrafast pulse translates photon energy to the material’s electrons before there is time for this energy to be translated from the electrons to the lattice. This phenomenon is often referred to as athermal laser processing, and allows the Laser Applications Engineer to control the heat input parameter and not pop the popcorn. When using a nanosecond pulse duration laser, the heat input is higher and less controlled than an ultrafast laser system. With this laser, the heat input was sufficient to pop the popcorn.

The videos show the difference between two types of laser systems within Mound Laser’s micromachining department. The ultrafast femtosecond or picosecond laser systems are best suited for applications where material is sensitive to heat input such as bioabsorable material, polymers, nitinol and precious metals. These systems are capable of producing features down to 5 microns. Typical applications include stents, biofilters, or micro implants. The nanosecond pulse duration laser system is best suited for applications that require extensive amounts of precise material removal and have more tolerance for heat input. Mound Laser has 21 laser systems, and our Laser Applications Engineers will assist with selecting the right system for each customers’ applications.

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