How to Select a Laser for Medical Applications?

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- GoPhotonics

Jan 25, 2024

Selecting a laser for medical applications involves a comprehensive evaluation of various factors to ensure safety, efficacy, and compatibility with specific procedures. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to select a laser for medical applications:

  • Define the Medical Application: Clearly identify the intended medical application, such as surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, dentistry, or therapeutic procedures. Different applications require specific laser characteristics.
  • Understand the Tissue Interaction: Consider how the laser will interact with biological tissues. Understand whether the goal is to cut, coagulate, stimulate, or achieve another therapeutic effect. Different wavelengths and laser types are suited for different tissue interactions.
  • Wavelength Selection: Choose the appropriate wavelength based on the targeted tissue. Consider the absorption properties of different tissues at varying wavelengths to ensure optimal penetration and minimal damage to surrounding structures.
  • Power Density Requirements: Determine the power density (intensity) required for the specific medical procedure. The power density affects the depth of tissue penetration and the degree of thermal effects. High power density may be needed for cutting, while lower power density may suffice for therapeutic applications.
  • Pulse Duration: Consider the pulse duration or exposure time of the laser. Short pulses are often used for precision and minimal heat generation, while longer pulses may be suitable for certain therapeutic applications. Tailor the pulse duration to the desired clinical effect.
  • Mode of Operation: Decide on the mode of operation - continuous-wave (CW) or pulsed. Continuous-wave lasers emit a continuous beam, while pulsed lasers deliver energy in short pulses. The mode of operation influences the thermal effects on tissues and is selected based on the procedure.
  • Integration with Other Technologies: Check whether the laser system can integrate with other medical technologies or imaging systems. Compatibility with existing equipment may enhance overall capabilities.






1.064 micron and 1.320 micron

Up to 100 W / up to 3.5 J/pulse

Urology, Tatoo removal, Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery, Gynecology, Cosmetic

Frequency doubled Nd:YAG (Potassium-titanyl-phosphate: KTP)

0.532 micron

Up to 180 W

Urology, Pulmonology

Copper Bromide / vapour

510 nm, 578 nm


Ruby (Q-switched)

694 nm


Fiber Lasers

1040 - 1045 nm

Up to 20 W



2.1 micron

Up to 100 W

Urology, Orthopedics


1.54 micron, 2.94 micron

Up to 100 W / Up to 5 J/cm2

Dermatology, Cosmetics

Thulium:YAG / Thulim : silica fiber

1900 nm - 2000 nm

200 W

Urology, Gynecology, Neurosurgery. ENT, Pulmonology


488 nm, 514 nm

Up to few watts / up to 100 J/cm2

Urology, Tatoo removal, Ophthalmology, Photodynamic Therapy, Dermatology


577 nm - 680 nm

Up to 120 mJ / up to 12 J/cm2

Urology, Tatoo removal

Alexandrite (Q-switched)

755 nm

Up to 100 mJ

Urology, Tatoo removal

Semiconductor laser

800 nm – 980 nm

Up to 200 W

Urology, Dentistry, Surgery, LLLT


2.1 micron

Up to 100 W / up to 3.5 J/pulse

Urology, Gynecology, Neurosurgery. ENT, Pulmonology


190 nm – 350 nm

Up to 400 mJ/cm2


CO2 laser

10.6 micron

Up to 50 W / 100mJ per pulse

Surgery, Urology, Dermatology, ENT

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