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Erbium Doped Glass Lasers – Properties and Applications

Erbium is a chemical element belonging to the category of rare earth metals. The trivalent ion of erbium (Er3+) is often used as the dopant for a number of glass and crystal lasers. Erbium is doped onto a glass substrate (made of silica or phosphate) and used for bulk lasers, amplifiers and fiber lasers.

Erbium-doped lasers require significant excitation density of the ions; typically the laser exhibits a high threshold of pump power. This laser is available in rod, plate, chip and optical fiber forms. When silica substrate is doped with erbium the multi-phonon transition is faster. In order to increase the absorption energy of the laser, it is co-doped with chromium or ytterbium. The Er:Glass lasers are known as ‘eye safe’ lasers because their emission wavelengths are absorbed by the eye lens and do not reach the retina.

The physical properties and applications of this laser are discussed in the sections below.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser typeSolid
Pump sourceLaser Diode/Xenon tubes
Operating wavelength1.53-1.56 µm

Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical and Chemical Properties
Chemical formulaEr:Glass
Thermal conductivity0.61 W/mK
Young's modulus57.6 GPa


The primary application of the erbium-doped lasers is in medical procedures, where viewing with the eye is necessary. Typical medical application is in dermatology.

Some of the other applications of the erbium doped glass laser are listed below:

What are Aesthetics Lasers?

Aesthetics Lasers (or cosmetic lasers), for non-invasive (or minimally invasive) applications varying from laser hair removal to scar tissue reduction, are one of the largest sectors in the medical laser industry. These lasers provide great benefits with minimal side effects by utilizing a laser’s pulsed light and the buildup of heat in the tissue to promote new collagen growth, or by utilizing to proper wavelength that has poor absorption in hemoglobin, but a high absorption in melanin for the visual reduction of pigmented lesions, for example.

Aesthetics Laser Applications

Tattoo Removal:Tattoo removal lasers are specifically designed to break down the pigments present in tattoos. They emit high-intensity light pulses that selectively target the tattoo ink without significantly affecting the surrounding skin. Different wavelengths are used depending on the colors of the tattoo ink. Q-switched lasers, such as Nd:YAG lasers (1064 nm for dark colors and 532 nm for lighter colors), are commonly employed for tattoo removal.

Hair Removal:Hair removal lasers target the melanin (pigment) present in hair follicles, disabling their ability to grow hair. The lasers emit wavelengths that are selectively absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicles, while minimizing damage to the surrounding skin. Diode lasers (800-810 nm) and Nd:YAG lasers (1064 nm) are commonly used for hair removal. The choice of laser depends on factors such as skin type, hair color, and thickness.

Acne treatment: Acne treatment lasers utilize specific wavelengths of light, typically within the range of 400-1,300 nanometers, emitted by laser diodes to target and reduce acne breakouts. The light energy is absorbed by the sebaceous glands, leading to a photothermal effect that helps control sebum production and reduce inflammation.

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