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CO2 Laser Optics: Substrate Materials

Copper Mirrors

Copper is the most popular material from which to make infrared mirrors, and is the most common mirror type for CO2 laser cutting, engraving and welding. Copper metal has high thermal conductivity, high heat capacity, and when freshly polished uncoated copper surfaces have a high natural reflectivity too.
 

Laser Beam Products stock a wide range of mirrors that are standard replacement parts for the most popular laser cutting systems.

Meeting or exceeding the OEM standards, these also cost less, as we are an optical manufacturer. We stock reflective components for many European, US, and Japanese metal cutting machines.
Because polished copper surfaces react with the atmosphere and lose reflectivity, most, but not all components, are generally used with a coating, to improve reflectivity, durability, or alter polarization on reflection. We offer several metal reflector coatings:
To improve the laser damage resistance, and reduce scatter, Copper mirrors have a thin intermediate layer of electroless nickel deposited. This gives an amorphous, non crystalline, surface of exceptional smoothness. Electroless Nickel also protects the whole of the mirror from oxidation, and prevents contamination of, or reaction with, the lasing gas, such as in sealed resonators.
 
Copper mirrors are chemically polished, the surfaces are super smooth and are free of imperfections from turning lines, fly cutting arcs, and diffractive patterns common on diamond turned optics. This gives a high laser damage resistant, super smooth, low scatter surface.
 

Finally, our proprietary stress relieving and heat treatment gives long term stability and performance, across a wide range of operating temperatures.

For the highest powers, and for maximum stability, internal water cooling channels can be machined into the mirror itself.

As Copper is readily machinable, we offer a huge range of mirror shapes and sizes, such as prisms, axicons, rectangles, chopper wheels, knife edges and shutters. By engineering in features such as dowel holes, tapped and helicoiled holes, or flanges, a well designed copper mirror can save costs in mounting and assembly.

Used optics are generally reworkable to as good as new condition. The raw metal material in larger mirrors, water cooled , or mirrors with complex engineering can be a large part of the cost of the optic, so refurbishment makes economic, technical, and environmental sense contributing to ISO 14000. See our newsletter for more details about reworking used CO2 laser mirrors


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