Dye Laser

Posted: September 3rd, 2013





Dye Laser


A Dye laser can be described as a laser that uses an organic dye as the lasing medium. There are four main categories of lasers, which are solid, liquid, gases, and semi-conductor lasers (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). However, the dye lasers belong to the category of liquid lasers that use the organic dye as a lasing medium. They are mainly used for medical applications in hospitals. The dye lasers are also applicable in the communication technology and many spectroscopic applications (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). They are used for the purposes of treating patients with various ailments and diagnostics. They are regarded as the most versatile and successful lasers in the world today in the field of biology, chemistry and physics (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). The operations, design considerations and the practical use of the dye laser are easy to identify and explain.


The solutions used in the laser dyes contain organic molecules that produce fluorescent beams. When the incoming source of light is exposed to the organic molecules, the dye becomes ready to emit stimulated radiation (Rosin, 2002). At this point, the dye emits light inform of fluorescent light and within a microsecond, the organic molecules will change to their triple state. In this case, they become phosphorescence and the molecules absorb the lasing wavelength, making the dye opaque. Flash pumps laser need short durations to deliver the large amounts of energy necessary to transport the dye past the threshold before triplet absorption overcomes singlet emission (Rosin, 2002). In this case, the dye solutions should be circulated at a high speed with low input energy to avoid this triplet absorption or degradation of the solution.

It should be noted that the dyes have a high capacity of being under the influence of light. Therefore, the dye operates in a large reservoir making it possible to store it for longer times (Rosin, 2002). When the beam is passed through the liquid, it only needs to pass to a few passes through the liquid to reach full power resulting to high transmittance of the output coupler. On the other hand, the high gain in energy leads to high loses due to the dye cell walls and flash pumps reflectors (Rosin, 2002). For this reason, the pump cavities are made from materials that are not reflective at the lasing wavelength while reflecting the pump wavelength. To increase this, the beam performs all its work at maximum wavelength.

Design Considerations

Lasers dyes have a unique design for the purposes of performing efficiently. As opposed to the other dyes, they use liquid solutions as their medium making it complicated and at the same time, making them the most effective lasers. A dye laser consists of an organic dye, which is mixed with a solvent to make the liquid. This liquid is then circulated through a dye cell. On the other hand, it can be streamed in the open air using the dye jet. After this, a high source of light with a lot of energy is needed to pump the liquid beyond the last threshold (Rosin, 2002). Mirrors are required to oscillate the light produced by the dyes fluorescence with each transitory through the liquid. The organic solution is circulated at high speeds to avoid triplet absorption and decrease degradation of the organic solution.

Because the dye solution can fit in any shape, it is designed to fit in many ways. For instance, fabry-perot laser is designed to fit for flash pump lasers. They consist of two mirrors that are mounted together with the laser placed between them. The solution is usually pumped with one or more flash pumps running parallel to the dye cell in a reflector cavity. This cavity is usually water cooled to prevent the shock produced from the radiation produced by the flash pumps. In this case, the laser dyes are ready to be used for the different purposes that it is meant for.

On the other hand, there is a ring laser design that is chosen particularly for the continuous operations. In this case, the mirrors are arranged to allow the beam to move in a circular motion at all times thus making it continuous. In this case, the dye cell is small, to some extent, a dye jet is usually used to avoid reflection loses in the laser dye. Similar to the fabry-perot, the solution is run at extremely high speeds to avoid absorption or degradation. Additionally, it avoids absorption form the cutting of the beams. In contrast to the fabry-perot, standing waves are not generated hence there is no spatial hole burning.

Practical Uses

I. Industrial Uses

The laser dyes have been practically made for industrial uses. In the industries, the laser dyes are practically used to separate the isotopes of radioactive elements like uranium. Uranium is commonly used for fueling nuclear powers to generate electricity. Many industries that use nuclear power use dye laser to separate uranium from its primary form so that they can be able to use it for electricity in the company (Tilley 77). This has been an excellent discovery in the industrial world because the other lasers could not perform their work efficiently. Therefore, the dyes lasers are extremely effective and as seen uranium cannot be easily separated from its primary form with the use of other lasers.

II. Medical Uses

In the medical field, the laser dyes have a variety of practical uses. One of them is the laser treatment of port wine stains. The port wine stains are formations of dilated blood capillaries in the skin (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). This causes the blood vessel to swell causing reddish marks in the skins. Hence, they are referred to as the port bloodstains. Port wine stains can occur in any part of the body, but in most cases, they occur on the face of a person (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). Additionally, port wine stains can infect anybody. It does not matter the age, gender or culture that a person hails from.

In this case, the laser dyes are used to remove these stains from the skin. What really happens is, a beam of 1 centimeter in diameter is directed towards the areas of the skin where there are port wine stains. When the beam is pointed directly to the stain, the beam reduces the swollen capillaries thus cleaning the stain. It is worth noting that the strength of the beam in the laser dyes to be used on a patient varies a lot (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). The strength of the beam that is used on a child is not the same strength that is going to be used on an adult or an elderly person. On the other hand, the strength of the beam that is used on the face is not the same strength that it is used on the leg or the hand. This is because it can be harmful to the health of a person. When the lasers dyes have been used to treat the skin of a person, there are no side effects like skin texture.

The other practical use in the medical field is the treatment known as lithotripsy. Lithotripsy is a medical procedure that uses chock waves to break stones that form in the gallbladder, bladder and kidney. This stones are only restricted to these regions only. The disease can infect anybody it does not matter the age, gender or race. This procedure is only used as a complementary treatment procedure.

In this case, near the stones there is plasma that surrounds it. When this plasma is heated, it explodes causing shock waves. These shock waves destroy the stones and break them into small pieces that can go through the bladder. Therefore, the laser dyes are used to heat the plasma directly. The beam of the laser is directed towards the plasma that is near the stones for the purposes of heating (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). After heating the plasma, it reaches a certain point then it explodes. When it explodes, it produces certain shock waves that cause the stones to break down into pieces. These small pieces can now pass through the bladder easily.

It is worth noting that in the different lithotripsy procedures, it requires different wavelengths and strengths. If the stones to be treated are large, wavelengths of high energy are used while if the stones are small, small wavelengths of small energy are used. Additionally, the wavelengths that can be used in the kidney are different from those wavelengths that can be used in the gallbladder. However, there are situations when there is tissue damage near the region where the treatment is being done. It should be noted that sometimes there are no tissue damage.

The other practical application of the laser dyes in the medical field is the treatment of plaque. This is when the arteries are narrowed or blocked by deposits known as plaques (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). These deposits include the fats and the cholesterol that builds up in the inside walls of the arteries. This medical condition can be referred to as atherosclerosis (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). In order to treat this disease a procedure known as angioplasty is used. There are many options of treating this, which include balloon angioplasty and laser angioplasty.

In laser angioplasty, the laser is passed through the different fibers where the plaque is located. In this case, radiation waves are used to displace the plaque from the arteries so that they can be able to function normally. In these procedures, the amount of wavelength depends on the age and gender of the person (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). Additionally, it depends on the amount of the plaque. If the amount of plaque is high, the radiation to be used is high. In this case, it is crucial for doctors to be extremely cautions where using laser angioplasty (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012).

There are several advantages of practically using the laser dyes in this procedure as compared to the other methods. The other methods require a major surgery to be done on a person as compared to laser angioplasty (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). In this case, the patient might develop complications on the major surgery, as opposed to the laser angioplasty. Secondly, when using the other procedures the arteries tend to open up at once and sometime they exceed the level in which they are expected (Bockus and Scofield 97). This might be harmful to the patient instead of treating him (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). On the other hand, when using the laser the arteries open slowly at their own pace causing no harm to the patient and reducing the chances of exceeding the required size.

The last medical use of the laser treatment is treating vascular abnormalities. Most of the time people have abnormalities in the blood vessels. For this reason, the laser dyes have been a breakthrough towards the treatment of these abnormalities. In this case, it has been discovered that the destruction of selective blood vessels in the body can cure the abnormalities (Shankarling and Jarang, 2012). This is where the laser dye is used with controlled wavelength and strength to destroy the selected blood vessels. The advantages of using this procedure as compared to the other are that it reduces the unnecessary risks.

III. Communication Uses

The practical uses of the laser dyes were a significant break through in the field of communication. As the term laser suggests it is to amplify, the scholars and inventor created ideas of amplifying in the field of communications. The first practical use is in the radios. This idea was first coined in by Albert Einstein, when he brought the idea of amplifying communication microwaves. In this case, there was an introduction of laser dyes in the radio communication system to make the wavelengths stronger allowing people to have better clarity when they are listening to the radios (Bamfield 33).

Another practical use in the field of communication is the fiber optics. Due to the change in technology, many companies have resulted to using fiber as opposed to the past where they were using copper wires. It was not that the copper wires were not effective, but they were destroyed easily. This resulted to the introduction of the fiber optics (Duarte 22). In fiber optics, there are those wavelengths that are required to move to long distances. In this case, the laser dyes are used since they are much more effective and easier to use.

Another practical usage is in the field of communication is digital communication. Telecommunications have changed to the traditional use of analogue to the modern use of digital communications. In order to transport wavelengths in the digital communications, it requires something that is faster and stronger to be effective (Pavlopoulos 84). In this case, the digital wavelengths use laser dyes to transport the wavelengths since they are much more effective and convenient in this field of communication.


Dye lasers can be described as those lasers that use organic dye solution. Laser dyes use liquid solution as the main medium. The word laser meant to amplify. When the lasers are designed, they can be in any shape because the liquid solution can be molded into any shape. In this case, the designs vary from to another depending on the usage. The basic operations of the laser dyes depend on the amount of wavelength. Additionally, the operations depend on how the beam is strengthened or reduce while using the laser dyes. The laser dyes have been a great invention to the world of physics chemistry and biology due to their practical uses. Therefore, the lasers dyes are here to stay with promising invention with new practical uses.


Works Cited

Bamfield, P. Chromic Phenomena: Technological Applications of Colour Chemistry. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2001. Internet resource.

Bockus, LB, and RH Scofield. “Phosphoprotein Detection on Protein Electroblot Using a Phosphate-Specific Fluorophore.” Methods in Molecular Biology (clifton, N.j.). 536 (2009): 385-93. Print.

Duarte, F J. Tunable Laser Optics. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press, 2003. Internet resource.

Pavlopoulos, Theodore G, P T. Landsberg, and A J. Kenyon. Scaling of Dye Lasers with Improved Laser Dyes. Tarrytown, N.Y: Elsevier Science, 2004. Internet resource.

Rosin, Glenn. Lesser Technology: Changing the Way of Life, Forging New Opportunities. OSA-Foundation.org. 2002. Web. February 16, 2012.

Shankarling, G. S and Jarang, K. J. Laser Dyes. Resonance. February 16, 2012.Web. February 16, 2012.

Tilley, R J. D. Colour and the Optical Properties of Materials: An Exploration of the Relationship between Light, the Optical Properties of Materials and Colour. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2011. Print.

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