Stable, Efficient and Precise: Fiber Lasers are Evolving to Fit Industry Needs

Interactive Flat Panel Display

What’s a fiber laser?


Fiber lasers employ semiconductor diodes as the light source to pump specialty optical fibers, which are doped with rare-earth elements. The laser emission is channeled and amplified through an optical fiber, and the amplified light is collimated or straightened and then focused by a lens onto the material to perform the required function.

Not so technically…

Basically, fiber lasers are stable, easy to use, efficient, and have very high beam quality, making them perfect for industrial applications that require a powerful but highly focused beam.

Trends to watch in the fiber laser market

Technavio analysts have outlined a few key trends in the global fiber lasers market, which is expected to grow at a cumulative average growth rate of 16.20% from 2014-2019.

Fiber lasers with ribbon cores

Researchers have developed lasers with ribbon core fibers. These are made up of a line of doped silica rods, surrounded by un-doped rods, in order to increase the beam quality.

The central ribbon core has a higher refractive index that helps focus light, which means the lasers can generate high-powered beans without incurring damage from the high temperatures, making it a more reliable technology.

Additionally, ribbon cores integrate different systems and use fewer components for operations, thereby reducing the size and complexity of the equipment. This technology has become popular in the communications and defence sectors, and is expected to capture a bigger share of the market through the projected period.

Increase in use of fiber lasers in projectors used in digital cinemas

Optical fiber lasers provide more brightness with a single digital projector, and Technavio expects to see higher demand for these lasers from digital cinemas over the next four years.

Increasing R&D spending by vendors

Vendors such as IPG Photonics are increasingly investing in their R&D departments to add new functionalities and fulfil new customer requirements. These investments have enabled vendors to gain market share and an edge over their competitors.

And as more dollars go towards R&D, the technology will develop, which will lead to more applications and in turn higher demand for fiber lasers.

Increase in collaborations between vendors

While there’s definitely a healthy amount of competition in the market, an increasing number of partnerships between fiber laser vendors are also expected to pop up over the forecast period, as market players aim to expand their business and improve their respective market shares.

For instance, IPG Photonics acquired Mobius Photonics in March 2013 to fast-track the entry of its fiber into the UV laser market and expand its opportunities in fine processing.

Rapid advances in technology

The number of R&D dollars being put towards developing the technology, coupled with an increasing number of strategic partnerships are making fiber lasers stronger, more powerful, and more energy-efficient than ever before. For instance, a 3kW fiber laser can now slice through 0.787 inches of steel sheet.

This kind of leap forward in technology will mark the fiber laser industry over the next four years.