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By Dr John Powell DSc, DIC, CEng, CPhys (auth.)

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16) and can be generated by the superimposition of pure modes or by the corruption of a single mode. Doughnut beams are obviously a special type of TEMol or TEMll as there are no separated areas of energy, but there is a gap in the centre. The nomenclature has therefore been adjusted to TEMol* where the asterisk implies that the TEMol mode has been spun around its central axis to complete a circle. For a more formal discussion of TEM modes refer to Chap. 9. 3 The Effect of Laser Design on Mode and the Implications for Material Processing All CO2 lasers consist of a chamber within which high energy electrons are passed across a gas mixture of CO2, nitrogen and helium.

The model outlined above provides a basic introduction to the cutting mech- 26 Laser Cutting Steels 11 03 04 06 05 in ~o inImin 40 o 9 36 8 32o 6 ~s ~ E -4 III C> 02 10 7 I , 01 3 c: £: 3 2 o o , \\ \ I \\ \ \~ 280 240 20 o , o 16 ~ \. \ l" ~~ "'-r--: ~~ 2 ~ 4 12o 8o t--.. 5-1 Fig. 3. Cutting speeds for mild steel for a number of laser powers. ) anism without resorting to complex mathematics. The interactions in the cut zone are, of course, more complicated than outlined here and involve fluid and gas dynamics as well as thermodynamics (see Chap.

The highest powered machines have generally poor quality TEMoo modes but, due to recent design improvements, fast flow lasers now exist which give a reasonable approximation to a Gaussian output at powers up to 3kW. To summarise these points: 1. TEMo1 * modes are not generally suited to cutting as they do not focus down to the small high energy density spot possible from Gaussian modes. 2. The axial symmetry and Gaussian purity of a TEMoo mode can be affected by laser design. Slow flow machines generate superior quality 22 The Basic Principles beams to their fast flow counterparts although the machines themselves tend to be substantially larger.

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