Skip to main content

What is a MOPA Laser and What is it Used For?

Fiber laser markers, be it pulsed or continuous wave, have prevailed in nearly all industries for marking products permanently and in high quality. The fiber lasers that are used for industrial part marking usually are either Q-switch or MOPA lasers. As of today, Q-switch lasers are more limited but more common because they have already existed on the market for a longer time and cheaper. That is why they are mostly offered on "entry level" machines and called “standard laser”. But due to their high flexibility, MOPA lasers are the best new alternative for most applications.

What does the term MOPA mean?

The term MOPA is an abbreviation for Master Oscillator Power Amplifier. The master oscillator, which can handle much higher frequencies andgive shorter pulses than others, produces the beam while the optical amplifier is used for boosting the output power.

Mopa Fiber Laser Marking and Engraving Machine

We only go for the LATEST and BEST technology: MOPA

Color engraving on metal is an innovative method. It appeared recently but has already received appreciation. Mopa fiber laser marking machine makes it possible not only to recreate on the surface an inscription of maximum accuracy but also to make it more beautiful. Color laser marking on stainless steel,plastic and other materials is indispensable in industry, jewelry, advertising and in the production of souvenir and branded products. Fiber mopa laser color machine for marking gives a wide field for the flight of fantasy and allows you to create an original product, give it personality or bind to a certain brand or business organization.

Color engraving is made with a controlled beam.  A huge charge of energy heats the metal to the melting temperature and changes its structure when the surface and the fiber mopa system come into contact. Adjusting the mode of mopa laser marker machine allows you to obtain an image of the desired brightness, depth, volume, contrast and texture. A color image on a metal is obtained through the formation of oxide films, it is formed when the metal is heated.

 

Much more possibilities for marking metals and plastics

Expand your possibilities when marking metals and plastics. With the MOPA laser, you can mark (anodised) aluminum in black or create reproducible colours on steel and also mark plastics  with higher-contrast and more legible results. In addition, you can produce qualitatively equivalent markings with the MOPA laser partially faster than with the conventional fiber laser.  Summarizing, the MOPA laser offers more flexibility regarding the adjustment of laser parameters. Thus, the MOPA laser is extremely versatile and can be adapted to the material very accurately if needed.

Furthermore, MOPA lasers provide advantages regarding the durability of the mark after reprocessing: With the possibility of flexibly adjusting the laser parameters, high-quality markings that are resistant against multiple passivation and sterilization cycles can be achieved. That is why the MOPA laser is often used for marking medical products.

You can also achieve better results with the MOPA laser for some plastics than with a “standard” fiber laser, for example regarding the contrast on black polyamide, black PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) or polypropylene.

Due to the possibility of adjusting the pulse duration, MOPA lasers are optimally suited for high-quality laser ablation or paint removal, e.g. for day/night markings in the automotive industries.

The light of marking lasers is generated in pulses. Generally, the pulse duration is non-adjustable. What is special about a MOPA laser is that its pulse duration is variable: Long or short pulses can be adjusted in steps between 4 and 200 ns.  Additionally, the laser parameters pulse duration, pulse frequency and pulse energy can be adjusted nearly independently of one another what results in high flexibility.  Furthermore, there is a difference regarding the pulse frequency itself: While the range of the pulse frequency of a so-called standard laser lies between 1,6 and 200 kHz, it lies between 1,6 kHz and 1 MHz for a MOPA laser.  

The MOPA laser is one of the most flexible lasers on the market and can be used for many applications: With respect to pulse duration, it can simulate the properties of conventional fiber lasers (Q-switch or QCW with relatively long pulses) and those of classical solid state lasers (relatively short pulses) such as Nd:YAG or Nd:YVO4 (vanadate).

    Advantages of MOPA laser

    For short pulses and lower pulse energy, the material is e.g. heated less and the area of the heat affected zone (HAZ) is reduced. This results in less energy consumption and more advantages and possibilities for laser marking metals and plastics:

    • Less burning/melting in the edge area of metal engravings
    • Less heat development during annealing markings on metal, which leads to a better corrosion behavior
    • Less energy consumption due to shorter pulses
    • Creation of reproducible annealing colors on stainless steel
    • Black marking of anodized aluminum
    • Controlled melting of plastics
    • Less foaming with plastics
    • More homogeneous and sometimes higher-contrast markings on some plastics

    The advantages of the conventional fiber laser sources remain unchanged:

    • maintenance-free
    • long service life
    • air-cooled
    • economic purchase price

    MOPA M1 Versus MOPA M6 Versus MOPA M7

    MOPA M1/ M6/ M7 laser marking machine parameter

    MOPA Lasers sources are evolving very fast toghether with all the other electronics. It is very simple, the higher the number of MOPA, the higher it is on the stairs of specifications and the higher the number indicates the newest technology.

     

    We only deliver MOPA laser source of the latest and newest technology :

    Type MOPA-7

    Application differences between MOPA laser marking and Q-switched laser marking.

    1. The surface stripping of aluminium oxide sheet

    Today’s electronic products are becoming increasingly lighter and thinner. Many mobile phones, tablets, and computers use light-weight aluminum oxide as the outer shell of the product. When a Q-switched laser is used to mark conductive sites on a thin aluminum plate, it can easily cause deformation of the material and “convex bulges” on the back side, which directly affects the aesthetic appearance. With the use of the MOPA laser’s small pulse width parameters, it can make the material not easily deformed, and the shading is more delicate and bright. This is due to the MOPA laser’s use of small pulse width parameters that allow the laser to stay in the material for a shorter period of time, but also have enough energy to clear the anode layer, so for the thin aluminum oxide plate surface stripping anode processing, MOPA Lasers are a better choice.

    2. Anodized aluminum black marking

    The laser is used to mark the black trademark, model, and text on the surface of the anodized aluminum material. This application has been widely used by electronic manufacturers such as Apple, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Meizu, etc in the past two years. On the mark, type, etc. used to mark the black mark. For this kind of application, only MOPA laser can process it at present. Because the MOPA laser has a wide range of pulse width and pulse frequency adjustment, the narrow pulse width and high frequency parameters can be used to mark the surface of the material as black. Different combinations of parameters can also be used to mark different gray levels.

    3. Electronic, semiconductor, ITO precision machining

    In precision machining of electronics, semiconductors, and ITO, fine line application is often required. Q-switched lasers cannot regulate the pulse width parameters due to its own architecture, so it is difficult to fine-tune the line drawn. The MOPA laser can adjust the pulse width and frequency parameters flexibly, which can not only make the line drawn fine, but also the edges appear smooth and not rough.

    In addition to the several application cases above,

    here we list some typical application cases as shows:

    Application Q-switched MOPA
    Aluminium oxide thin sheet surface removal Easy deformation & rough shading NO deformation & fine shading
    Anodized Aluminium black marking CAN’T DO Can do different shades of black color by setting up different parameters
    Metal deep marking Rough shading Fine shading
    Stainless steel black marking Need under the state of out-of-focus, difficult to adjust effect Can do various color marking by adjusting pulse width and pulse frequency
    PC/ABS etc. plastics Marking effect is prone to yellowing & handfeel heavy NO handfeel & marking effect is NOT prone to yellowing
    Transparent paint plastic buttons Difficult to clean up Easy to clean up, high efficiency
    Electronics, semiconductor, ITO precision finishing Pulse width too big, energy too strong Can adjust pulse width to make laser light spot more finer Energy also can be adjusted evenly

    Which materials can these machines engrave?

    Q-Switch Vs MOPA

    Laser Source Q-Switch MOPA
    Gold y y
    Aluminium Y Y
    Aluminium (with dark color effect also) N Y
    Stainless steel (only white and dark colors) Y Y
    Stainless Steel (with multiple colors) N Y
    Platinum Y Y
    Silver Y Y
    Titanium Y Y
    Brass Y Y
    Tungsten Y Y
    Carbide Y Y
    Nickel Y Y
    Carbon steel Y Y
    Crome Y Y
    Copper Y Y
    Iron and other metals Y Y
    °°°°°°°°°°°°°    
    ABS plastic (low rate of melting burn) N Y
    ABS plastic (high rate of melting burn)* Y Y
    PC plastic (low rate of melting burn) N Y
    PC plastic (high rate of melting burn)* Y Y
    PLA plastic Y Y
    Silicon plastic Y Y
    PBT plastic and others Y Y
    * Q-Switch sources can engrave different plastics but in some of them you will feel the engraving by the touch of our fingers.    

    What's the difference between MOPA laser and Q-Switch Laser engraving machines?

    The main difference is the inside technology and the result

    Even if these two machines have a very similar or same outlook, inside, they work differently.

    • The Q-switched fiber laser machines use a technology that allows the power supplier to generate the path light only between 1 to 500 kHz.
    • On the other hand, the MOPA fiber laser Machine (Master Oscillator Power Amplifier) most know as generate the power source with a different method, and this allows the machine has a pulse frequency with more amplitude than the fiber, from 1 to 4000 kHz. These enable the MOPA laser to have different engraving results over some plastics and metal materials in comparison of the Q-switched or fiber laser technology.

    Our Master Oscillator Power Amplifier (MOPA) fiber laser technology has the capability to mark, engrave or etch on a variety of surfaces and materials, unlike other fiber lasers that often have trouble processing some difficult or sensitive materials. Our machines allow you to easily engrave, mark or etch on materials ranging from gold and nickel plating to plastics and PCB.

    Other benefits of our MOPA laser-powered marking, engraving and etching machines include:

    • Ten times more efficient than traditional YAG laser systems
    • Available from 10 to 200 watts of power
    • Maintenance-free design
    • No lamps, water cooling or alignments
    • Require no calibrations
    • Longest reliability; up to 100,000 hours life span with two-year warranty
    • Compact machine with simple design

     

    The Differences Between MOPA Fiber Lasers and YAG Lasers

    YAG lasers and MOPA fiber lasers both have the capabilities to mark, etch and engrave on a variety of surfaces and materials. YAG lasers are outdated and outclassed when compared to MOPA lasers, though, as MOPA lasers offer the highest beam quality, long diode life, and more.

    Though the two types of laser systems operate similarly, more and more companies are discovering the competitive advantage to using MOPA fiber laser systems instead of their outdated counterparts. 

    YAG Lasers
    Also known as flash lamp or lamp-pumped lasers, YAG lasers utilize a bulb as a pumping mechanism and a YAG crystal as the gain medium. These both reside in an optical resonator, typically a gold-plated cavity, which reflects the light and helps with the process of creating the laser light. Although many companies still use these types of laser systems, they are considered to be outdated and lack many of the advantageous qualities you will find with a MOPA fiber laser system. For example, the bulbs for YAG lasers have a short lifespan and require frequent replacement. They also create large amounts of heat, therefore requiring water-cooling measures. The YAG lasers are also very inefficient and are prone to common misalignment and adjustment problems.

    MOPA Fiber Lasers
    Unlike YAG lasers, MOPA fiber lasers utilize semiconductor diodes as the pumping mechanism and a doped fiber optic cable as the gain medium. For these fiber lasers, the doped fiber optic also serves as the resonator. MOPA fiber lasers are much more reliable and efficient than previous laser technologies. With these laser systems, you know you are getting the best technology on the market.