Editorial Feature

Holmium YAG Lasers - Properties and Applications

Holmium YAG laser is a solid state laser, where YAG (Yttrium Aluminum Garnet) crystals are doped with rare-earth holmium ions (Ho3+). The first experiments with doping the YAG laser with holmium were carried out during the 1960s. The outcome of these experiments was a laser emission of wavelength of 2.1 µm.

The set up for holmium YAG laser consists of a multi-bar laser diode stack consisting of Ho:YAG rods. These rods are coated with an antireflective coating on both ends. A resonator column of 80 mm length is used for achieving laser wavelength of 2.1 µm. This column houses mirrors that are also coated with an anti-reflective material. A laser diode is used as the power source for this laser. Safety goggles need to be worn while operating the laser.

Medical surgeries are the main area for application of this laser. It is mainly used in tissue ablation, dentistry and other surgical procedures. The physical properties and applications of this laser are discussed in the sections below.

Laser Properties

Laser Properties
Laser type Solid
Pump source Laser Diode
Operating wavelength 2.1 µm

Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical and Chemical Properties
Chemical formula Ho:YAG
Crystal structure Cubic
Melting point 1965°C
Hardness 8.25
Thermal conductivity 11.2 W/mK
Young's modulus 335 GPa


The primary application of holmium YAG laser is in medical surgeries. It is used for ablation of tissues, urology, prostatic surgery, etc.

Some of the other applications of the holmium YAG laser are listed below:

  • Dentistry
  • Laser Lithotripsy - a endourologic surgical procedure to remove kidney stones
  • Orthopedic surgeries
  • ENT therapies.

Sources and Further Reading

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