The basics of laser marking and how it works

The basics of laser marking and how it works

laser marking

The process of laser marking involves the use of lasers to mark parts or workpieces. Laser beams create permanent marks on materials by generating a chemical reaction. As the laser beam speeds, power, and focus change, different laser processes will result. The laser can be used for laser engrave, laser etch, laser anneal, or laser ablate.

In order to mark your parts successfully, you need to select the right laser technology and configuration. It is necessary to define your application requirements before determining what you need. Here are some examples:

  • Size, geometry, and material of your part
  • The time you have available to mark
  • your process of production

Read on to discover how these requirements will impact which laser marking method, power, and system you will need. For more information, visit

1.Absorption spectra are characteristic of all materials


In most industrial laser systems, wavelengths emitted are not visible to the naked eye, so it is difficult to visualize them. The wavelengths that different materials reflect differ, however. 

Materials absorb specific wavelengths based on their unique compositions. Lasers use a single wavelength to mark very specific materials, which makes them highly specialized. Laser requirements therefore differ according to the material.

If you need a CO2 laser, you will either need a fiber laser or a fiber laser system.

2. CO2 and fiber lasers have different wavelengths

As a result of the material used for their gain medium, laser sources emit different wavelengths. You’ll need to choose a laser marking system based on the material you’ll be marking.

Marking metals with fiber lasers is the best option

Solid-state lasers are sometimes viewed as fiber lasers. Laser sources contain optical fibers containing rare-earth metals such as ytterbium, among other materials. Lasers of this wavelength (1064 nm) produce laser light. A fiber laser can mark most metals effectively.

It is best to mark organic materials with gas-state laser systems

An optical system that uses gas for the laser source is called a gas-state laser. Gas lasers are most commonly known as CO2 lasers. They provide laser light with wavelengths ranging between 9 micrometers and 10.2 micrometers (9,000-12,000 nm). The wavelengths of these wavelengths are suitable for most organic compounds. Metals, however, do not react well with these wavelengths as they do with fiber lasers.

There are different ways to mark a surface with lasers

You will need a laser marking process based on your application. Creating highly durable marks that cannot be removed may be needed, for example. Perhaps the marking process must be timed according to a cycle time. 

It is important to understand your production process and your needs before choosing a laser process.

4.Pulsed laser marking beams possess a greater energy density

Laser power can be increased to increase energy density. In some cases, more laser power may be required because different laser marking technologies require different energy densities. Laser engraving, for example, is the most energy-intensive marking technology.

Nevertheless, as power increases, so do costs. There are alternative ways to increase the energy density of a laser beam. Increasing laser power is important, but it’s not the only one.

Pulsed and continuous laser beams are both available. A continuous-wave laser emits laser beams continuously. The laser beams from pulsed lasers are repeated at a set interval.

5.Lasers are a great marking solution for virtually any industry

Lasers are becoming an increasingly popular marking solution for manufacturing industries. It makes sense, too.

With laser marking, full traceability is possible

When you mark with lasers, the marking is permanent and direct. In addition, unlike other marking methods, the marking process can begin as soon as the product is created. 

Even if you mark a part before it is shot blasted or coated, the marks remain intact throughout its lifetime. Whether it is data matrix codes, barcodes, or alphanumeric serial numbers, you don’t need to worry about maintaining their quality.