Optics 101

Xenon Fluoride Excimer Lasers – Properties and Applications

A xenon fluoride (XeF) excimer laser consists of xenon - a noble gas - and fluorine - a halogen. Xenon is a colourless, odourless, heavy, and stable noble gas, while fluorine is a pale yellow, light gas, having strong electro negativity, which makes it extremely reactive.

A xenon fluoride excimer laser can be spontaneously stimulated to produce radiation. The xenon atom absorbs energy from the power source and reacts with fluorine gas to form a temporary complex.

This temporary complex is capable of a stimulated or spontaneous emission, resulting in an exciplex laser that is in the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with a wavelength of 351nm.

A unique feature of this excimer laser is that it can be converted into a slightly tunable laser by using a variety of prisms and grating intracavity arrangements.

Safety precautions need to be exercised while working with this laser, as it damages the human eye when exposed to the UV radiation. Human flesh also needs to be protected from the potentially carcinogenic effects of UV radiation from this laser.

Applications of xenon fluoride laser are mainly in photolithography. They are also used as laser line mirrors.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser type Gas
Pump source High Voltage Electric discharge
Operating Wavelength 351nm


The primary application of xenon fluoride is in photolithography. Photolithography is used in the production of a number of microelectronic devices. Some of the other applications of the xenon fluoride laser are as below:

  • Laser line mirrors
  • Micromachining of plastics, composites


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