Optics 101

Xenon Chloride Excimer Lasers – Properties and Applications

A xenon chloride (XeCl) excimer laser consists of xenon - a noble gas - and chlorine - a halogen - combined to act as a lasing medium. Xenon is a colourless, odourless, heavy, and stable noble gas, while chlorine is a yellow-green, light gas with a strong electron affinity. This laser was invented at the Naval Research Laboratory, USA, by using a microwave discharge for exciting the laser medium.

A xenon chloride excimer laser can produce radiation spontaneously, or stimulated to do so. The xenon atom absorbs energy from the power source and reacts with chlorine gas to form a temporary complex. This temporary complex is capable of stimulated or spontaneous emission, resulting in an exciplex laser that is in the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with a wavelength of 308nm. Safety precautions need to be exercised while working with this laser, as it damages the human eye when exposed to UV radiation. Human flesh also needs to be protected from the potentially carcinogenic effects of UV radiation from this laser.

Applications of a xenon chloride laser are mainly in treating a number of dermatological conditions. It is also used in the micromachining of organic tissues, and in performing other delicate surgeries that need precision. It is also used as a pump source for tunable dye lasers.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser type Gas
Pump source Microwave discharge
Operating Wavelength 308nm


The primary application of xenon chloride is in the treatment of a number of dermatological conditions, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, leukoderma, alopecia areata, and atopic dermatitis. It emits deep UV radiation and, hence, is used as powerful pump source for tunable dye lasers. Some of the other applications of the xenon chloride laser are as below:

  • Precision medical surgeries
  • Micromachining of organic tissues
  • Scientific research
  • Industrial – micromachining of plastics, composites, etc.


  • Xenon Chloride Excimer Laser – World of Lasers

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