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Laser for melting silica

Laser for melting silica

Laser for melting silica

(OP)
I am interested in building a "tool" using a laser to melt (actually soften a small area of) silica glass. Today I heat this glass with an electric arc to accoplish my needs. The downside of this is that I have limited control over this arc. The silica I work with is small in size (about .02 inches wide). Controlled heating is critical for consistency.
What laser would work best and where can I get one?
Thanks
John C.

RE: Laser for melting silica

John
A small Carbon Dioxide (CO2) laser perhaps 20 to 50 Watts would melt silica materials very effectively. The laser beam can be 'focussed' using simple lenses to <100 micrometers so that should fit with your size requirements. These size lasers start at $5,000 so to try the idea it may be best to approach a University elec-eng or physics department that has these devices and can advise on their (safe) use. See the IOP website www.iop.org for listings of which UK departments to approach; TIPTOP or OSA for international sites. If youv'e got money and want some of the system built up for you I can recommend a laser systems manufacturer/systems integrator GSI Lumonics Inc.
Vik
email: eat-more-toast@ieee.org

RE: Laser for melting silica

"simple lenses" means salt (humidity problems) or ZnSE (toxic). But other than that, I guess the CO2 is your only valid choice for this kind of job; probably you arelooking for a pulsed CO2, laser, with "light" pulses in the microsecond range, and repetitions of maybe hundred or couple of hundred pulses/ second.

You can:

- control the actual "length" (time) of the light pulse
- the repetition frequency
- directly the focalization of the laser beam

to achieve a broad spectrum of thermal effects

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