Editorial Feature

Gold Vapor Lasers - Properties and Applications

The gold vapor laser is very similar to copper vapor laser in terms of structure and operation as well. At times, same laser tube and power supply may be used for both lasers by simply changing the solid copper by a pure gold wire.

The laser emits a monochromatic pulsed red light at a wavelength of 627.8 nm as it has a high average peak power in the red spectral region. The emitted beam has a repetition rate in the range of 5 to 15 kHz. Neon or helium gas is commonly employed as a buffer gas in the gold vapor laser.

The laser is operated using successive pulsed discharges of a storage capacitor via a spark-gap switch. Excitation is carried out in an a periodic pulse train with the application of a high voltage of up to 5.4 kV.

The gold vapor laser has been widely used in the treatment of cancer using photodynamic therapy.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser type Metal-vapor
Pump source Electrical discharge
Operating wavelength 627 nm


The gold vapor laser is primarily used for photodynamic therapy which is carried out for treating certain types of cancer. During the treatment, the tumor site containing the ingested photoabsorptive material is irradiated with the gold vapor laser. Thus the cancerous tissue is destroyed by the absorbed laser energy.

Other applications of gold vapor laser include:

  • Dye laser pumping
  • Dermatology
  • Cosmetology
  • Dimensional machining of materials.

Sources and Further Reading

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