Custom Laser Flow Plates
Cascade Laser provides standard and custom high quality laser flow plates from a variety of different materials. Laser flow plates are most often used around laser lamps and laser rods in water cooled lamp pumped lasers. The materials we offer on a regular basis are Pyrex, Quartz, Cerium Doped Quartz, and Samarium Doped Glass.
The material chosen for the laser flow plate will depend on your application.
Here is a brief overview of each material we offer....
Pyrex Glass is by far the most popular material for laser flow plates. It blocks all UV Light below 300nm, so it makes an excellent and inexpensive filter for this reason. While Pyrex blocks a lot of the UV wavelength, it does not have the added advantage that Cerium Doped Quartz has, of fluorescing in the visible range and creating higher pumping efficiency. All of our Pyrex flow plates are cut to length, ground, flame polished, and then annealed to remove any stress in the glass. Pyrex glass comes in even metric sizes, for example 11mm OD, 12mm OD, and so on. The wall thickness increases slightly as the OD gets larger.
Quartz Glass is more expensive than Pyrex. The advantage to using Quartz Glass is when you need the flow plate to transmit deep into the UV range. Quartz will transmit UV down to about 200nm. All of our Quartz flow plates are cut to length, ground, and then flame polished. Annealing is available on request, but it is not as important as it is when using Pyrex. Quartz glass comes in even metric sizes, for example 11mm OD, 12mm OD, and so on. The wall thickness may vary with the OD selected.
Cerium Doped Quartz is more expensive than Pyrex Glass or standard Quartz Glass. The advantage to Cerium Doped Quartz is that it blocks the UV light down to around 380nm, virtually blocking all the UV. In addition, Cerium Doped Quartz fluoresces in the visible range and therefore slightly increases pump efficiency in many lasing mediums. Cerium Doped Quartz is generally available in even metric sizes like standard Quartz Glass, but not as many sizes are available. All of our Cerium Doped Quartz flow plates are cut to length, ground, and then flame polished. The wall thickness may vary with the OD selected.
Samarium Doped Glass is by far the most expensive option, sometimes by factors of 5 or even 10. Samarium Doped Glass blocks all UV light below 400nm, so it is an excellent UV filter. Like Cerium Doped Glass, Samarium Doped Glass also fluoresces in the visible range, causing a slight increase in pumping efficiency with some lasing mediums. The property that sets Samarium Doped Glass apart from Cerium Doped Glass, is that it also blocks the 1064nm wavelength. This is very important when pumping Nd:YAG lasers which operate at 1064nm, because the 1064nm wavelength coming from the lamp can interfere with the 1064nm wavelength created when pumping the Neodymium in the crystal.
Samarium Doped Glass flow plates are very expensive because the flow plates have to be machined out of a solid block of glass. Samarium Doped Glass can't be pulled into tubing. After the glass is machined to shape, it is ground and then polished to clear both inside and out. Finally it goes through a chemical curing process that strengthens the glass plate. Because Samarium is machined to size, it can be made in just about any size and shape you can imagine. We offer basic straight plates, but we can also provide dual or triple hole plates for use as laser cavities.
In addition to our capabilities with custom glass work, we also specialize in making custom flow plate assemblies to match your requirements. The flow plates assemblies shown below are a small cross section of the type of work we can do. We have been making custom laser flow plate assemblies since the mid-1980's and we have a lot of experience with specifying materials, machining, and adhesives required to make a durable and functional product.