Application note – 9.3μm wavelength CO2 lasers for cutting paper and card


Paper converting processes generally operate at very high speeds, with roll-to-roll machines sometimes reaching speeds up to 400m/min. Paper is composed mainly of cellulose fibres, derived from wood or other plant sources, but its composition and weight may vary. Other substances such as lignin, china clay, chalk, talc, pigments and optical brightening agents may be present in the finished paper product, and may affect the process. Laser cutting is achieved by sublimation, removing material without melting.

Smoke production may result in some discolouration of the edges, but good process quality can generally be achieved with careful management of the laser parameters, assist gas and fume extraction.


  • Process speed is directly proportional to the laser power used. The speed usually scales linearly with power, so that to double the process speed would require twice the power.
  • The 9.3μm wavelength has been shown to cut up to 20% faster than 10.6μm in some cases, although this depends on the composition and weight of the paper.
  • Testing is always recommended to verify performance.
  • Process quality is comparable for both 10.6μm and 9.3μm wavelengths, and depends on the composition, quality and thickness of the paper.
  • The SR series and OEM 45iX lasers are recommended for high-speed paper converting applications at the 9.3μmwavelength.


Our applications laboratory is equipped with CO2 lasers at both 10.6μm and 9.3μm wavelengths. If you would like us to test some samples of your paper or card, or if you require further information about this application, please contact