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Optical Components & Laser Types Used in The Medical Sector

24th Aug 2020

Whether used for diagnosis, treatment, dentistry, plastic surgery or dermatology, lasers are omnipresent within the medical industry. Since Dermatologist Leon Goldman – or as he’s better known the ‘Father of Laser Medicine’ – pioneered laser treatments back in the ’60s1, healthcare-related laser-based treatments have come on leaps and bounds. Now used to perfect vision, remove those impulsive tattoos and remove potentially harmful cancerous cells, lasers truly have transformed the healthcare and medical industries. Here, Knight Optical – the industry-leading supplier of high-precision, custom-made, metrology-tested optical components – explores the various types of lasers used in the industry and looks at some of the optics that are used to ensure their precision remains second-to-none. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to laser-based treatments within the medical industry, and the same applies to the optical components that are integrated into their design. As such, here at Knight Optical, we supply a wide-ranging portfolio of optics for laser use – either from stock from over 3000 components, ready for next-day dispatch (ideally suited for those projects that demand quick lead times), or as custom-made options for seamlessly integrated, fit-for-purpose optics.

There’s more than one type of laser used for medical treatments, to name a few are:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Diode
  • Dye
  • Excimer
  • Fibre

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Lasers 

Developed by Indian Electrical Engineer C. Kumar N. Patel in 19642, the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser is commonly used in applications such as laser surgery, skin resurfacing, and to treat benign and malignant cells. CO2 is a preferred laser method for many reasons. Its advantages mainly include less bleeding, shorter surgery time and less risk of infection.

What Optical Components Are Used in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Lasers?

There are several high-precision optical components used within CO2 lasers. Here at Knight Optical, we stock and supply a range of optics for integration with these state-of-the-art lasers. We offer the following as custom-made options or from our vast range of stock:


As well as a range of optics, we also offer a variety of custom coatings for CO2 lasers. To view our full range of coatings, please click here.

Diode Lasers

Another type of laser used within the medical and healthcare sector, diode lasers are commonly employed for procedures such as cutting tissue in surgical treatment and photodynamic therapy (PDT) [treatment of premalignant growths]. Thanks to their compact size, they are a favoured category of laser for the procedures mentioned above3.

What Optical Components Are Used in Diode Lasers?

Since 1991, we have been working with a large number of manufacturers of high-specification diode lasers. As a long-standing partner to many engineers and manufacturers working on these systems, we understand the precision involved with their production. Our custom-made components are a popular choice amongst those discerning specifiers in search of tailored optical solutions. Commonly specified for healthcare-related diode lasers are our beam shaping optics, which include:

Dye Lasers

Predominantly used in skin treatment for procedures such as removing scars, birthmarks and blood vessel disorders; for example – dye lasers play a crucial role in laser surgery. Their manufacture comprises a liquid solution (commonly ethanol, p-dioxane and dimethyl sulfoxide [DMSO]4). Different dyes emit various wavelengths – from the ultraviolet (UV) to the near-infrared (NIR) range.

What Optical Components Are Used in Dye Lasers?

Of course, each dye laser has its own blueprint and is manufactured for procedure-specific applications with individual liquid solutions; however, optics specified for dye lasers include:

Excimer Lasers

This category of laser is actually linked to the above and is often used in laboratories to pump dye lasers5; however, they’re probably best known for their use in eye surgery. Excimer lasers are regularly used for treatment for short- and long-sighted procedures as well as astigmatisms. Computer-controlled, they provide eye surgeons with ultimate precision when removing exact amounts of tissue from the eye’s cornea.

What Optical Components Are Used in Excimer Lasers?

Here at Knight Optical, we offer a range of metrology-tested, premium-quality optics for excimer lasers. Typically emitting between 157 and 351nm, excimer lasers use optical components, such as (to name but a few):

Fibre Lasers

Typically used for endoscopy procedures to inspect body cavities or organs, fibre lasers usually make use of fibre optics; however, there are occasions where external bulk optic setups are combined with fibre-coupling systems6. Here, at Knight Optical, we supply a range of components for bulk configurations, such as Mirrors, available as custom-made optics or from stock for next-day dispatch.

Why Choose Knight Optical? 

Here at Knight Optical, we have been supplying a range of optical components for healthcare-related laser devices. Discerning engineers working on such applications rely on Knight Optical not only for the premium quality of our output and in-house state-of-the-art Metrology Laboratory and QA Department’s capabilities but also because – as well as a range of stock optics (available for next-day dispatch) – we also offer a sought-after made-to-measure service.

If you’re looking for premium-quality, bespoke optical components, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Technical Sales Team today.