Editorial Feature

Titanium-Sapphire (Ti:Sapphire) Lasers - Properties and Applications

The titanium-doped sapphire laser (Ti:sapphire) is a tunable laser that has excellent tunability and potential to create ultrashort pulses. It emits near-infrared and red light in the range of 650 - 1100 nm. Laser operation of Ti:sapphire was first performed in June 1982 by Peter Moulton. It combines excellent the optical, physical and thermal properties of sapphire and hence it is widely used in scientific research.

Ti:sapphire laser also possesses high laser cross sections which in turn minimizes its Q-switching instabilities. Pumping of Ti:sapphire laser is carried out with another laser having a wavelength of 514 to 532 nm, which includes Nd:YVO laser, frequency-doubled Nd:YAG laser or argon-ion laser.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser type Solid
Pump source Laser
Operating wavelength 650 - 1100 nm

Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical and Chemical Properties
Chemical formula Ti3+:Al2O3
Crystal structure Hexagonal
Melting point 2040°C
Mohs hardness 9
Thermal conductivity 33 W/mK
Young's modulus 335 GPa


Since its discovery in the early 1980s, Ti sapphire lasers and amplifiers are being used in fundamental research applications in chemistry, biology and physics. They play a vital role in a wide range of photonics applications that include multiphoton deep-tissue imaging, cold micromachining, terawatt and petawatt physics and multicolor ultrafast spectroscopy. It also offers high-resolution three-dimensional imaging of thick tissue samples, including in vivo specimens.

Titanium sapphire is also used for regenerative amplifiers and multi-pass amplifiers. These devices achieve high output peak power of several terawatts with chirped-pulse amplification. Such immense power can be used for nuclear fusion research and nonlinear optics.

Sources and Further Reading


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