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Infrared laser Vs UV Laser,What is the Difference

Jun 11, 2021

Nowadays,with the rapid development of laser technology,Laser marking machines with air-cooled have been widely used in many applications from auto parts to medical industry etc.These process of marking have significantly increased our production efficiency.Compared to other lasers technology,and among them, infrared lasers and ultraviolet lasers are the two type of lasers most widely used.They have great advantages over other types of laser marking machines due to its excellent performance.While what is the difference between infrared laser and UV laser?Let us make some comparison of the two lasers:


laser wavelength

What is the difference Infrared laser and UV Laser


Infrared YAG laser


infrared laser processing

Infrared YAG laser (wavelength is 1.06μm) is one of the most widely used laser source in material processing.However, many plastics and flexible circuit boards based on a large amount of special polymers (such as polyimide) cannot be high accuracy processed by infrared laser or "heat" treatment due to "heat" deforms the plastic and produces carbonized damage on the edges of cutting or engraving, which may need some subsequent processing steps have to be added to improve processing quality. Therefore, infrared lasers are not suitable for the processing of certain flexible circuits. In addition, the wavelength of infrared lasers cannot be absorbed by copper even at high energy level,So these  factors severely affect its range of application.


UV laser


UV laser processing

However, the wavelength of UV lasers is below 0.4μm, which is suitable for processing polymer materials because of its shorter wavelength.


Unlike infrared laser,UV laser processing is not essentially "heat" treatment,which belongs to "cold processing".Moreover,most materials can absorb ultraviolet light more easily than infrared light. High-energy ultraviolet photons directly break the molecular bonds on the surface of many non-metallic materials resulting in more smooth edges and minimal carbonization by these "cold" photoetching technology.


The short-wavelength characteristics of UV laser are better to fine processing of metals and polymers.These light spot can be focused on the order of sub-micron level, so it is very suitable for fine work processing even at low pulse energy levels.




3W UV laser marking machine


Infrared Laser and UV laser in Fine Processing Application


Fine laser processing have been widely used in many industries, and there are two main laser:


One is infrared lasers: The principle of work is to use laser beam to heat and vaporize (evaporate) the surface of the material to remove the material, usually called "thermal processing". YAG laser (wavelength 1.06μm) is mainly used.


Two is ultraviolet lasers: The principle of work is to use high-energy ultraviolet photons to directly break the molecular bonds on the surface of many non-metallic materials, and make the molecules are separated from the object without producing high heat,usually called "cold processing", and ultraviolet lasers (wavelength is 355nm) is mainly used.


The comparison between ultraviolet laser and ordinary infrared laser is like below:


Laser type

UV laser

Infrared laser




Beam quality



Single photon energy




Cold processing

Heat processing


Large range(hardly all material)

Narrow range

Marking line width



Affect area




Through the comparison that the ultraviolet laser can perform ultra-fine marking and special material marking because of its very small focus spot and minimal processing heat-affected area.Therefor, UV laser is the first choice for customers who have higher requirements for high accuracy marking.




Above the comparison of infrared and ultraviolet lasers,We know that both laser due to the different laser wavelength and the processing methods have own application. Ultraviolet lasers are more suitable for precision processing or 3D printing, while infrared lasers with high power are more suitable for industrial cutting and welding applications. In terms of price, At the same specification ultraviolet lasers are more expensive than infrared lasers.