How do Fiber Lasers Work?

When it comes to parts traceability and laser etching, few methods compare to fiber lasers. Over the past decade or so, fiber laser technology has seen great improvements: the systems are easy to use, require little maintenance, and are more versatile than any other marking method. While the operator experience has simplified, the lasers themselves have become increasingly more complex. So, here’s a short introduction to fiber lasers and how they work. 

What is a “Fiber” Laser?

Scientifically speaking, a fiber laser is a “is a laser in which the active gain medium is an optical fiber doped with rare-earth elements such as erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium, thulium and holmium” (cited here). According to, “banks of diodes” create fiber laser light that is then amplified through a fiber optic cable. As the light “exits” the cable, it is straightened and focused with a lens on the material. 

Why Fiber Lasers?

Traditionally, gasses, like oxygen and CO2, have been used as a “cutting” medium, but fiber lasers have proven more efficient. According to, they are 200% more efficient than CO2 lasers. This is because instead of gas, fiber lasers use a normal optical fiber made of silica glass. That fiber is then “doped” with traces of the rare-earth elements mentioned above. When photons are emitted, they are contained within the doped fiber core and emitted in a single coherent direction. 

This “containment of photons” sets fiber lasers apart from other parts marking methods because it allows for one important thing: stability. The beam generates from inside its core, so transferring it to a surface doesn’t require sensitive optical equipment. Therefore, complex internal beam alignments are eliminated. 

Typical Uses of Fiber Laser Etching

Fiber lasers are used in a variety of industries. These lasers are extremely versatile and can be delicate enough for medical equipment yet strong enough for auto components. There are endless applications for fiber lasers.

Main Benefits of Fiber Lasers 

Beyond being an industry leader in laser etching, fiber lasers have many practical benefits.

  • No moving parts or mirrors in the light-generating source, thus lowering operating costs 
  • Higher wall-plug efficiency, lower running costs
  • Higher welding/etching speeds overall
  • Can mark/engrave reflective materials like copper, brass and aluminum 
  • Typically sees 100,000 operating hours before maintenance is required

At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of fiber laser systems for part manufacturers and businesses. If you’d like to learn more about how fiber lasers can work for you, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.