Coherent has introduced the new Flare NX, an ultra-compact, pulsed laser that enables applications such as matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization – time of flight (MALDI-TOF) analytical measurements, laser microdissection, and laser induced fluorescence with higher speed higher process quality.
The Flare NX is a series of diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) pulsed lasers with a choice of 1030nm, 515nm and 343nm outputs. The lasers combine high pulse energies (>500 µJ at 1030nm, >300µJ at 515nm, >100µJ at 343nm), excellent beam quality (M²<1.2) and short pulsewidth (~1ns). Other lasers provide a maximum of two of these features on an either/or basis.
The short pulsewidth of Flare NX delivers increased temporal resolution in some applications (i.e., superior mass resolution in MALDI-TOF). The high pulse energy leads to improved signal-to-noise data, requiring fewer pulses per measurement, while the high beam quality yields higher spatial resolution in microscopy-type applications.
MALDI-TOF is a type of mass spectrometry widely used for example in life sciences to study large molecules such as proteins and viruses. Traditionally, MALDI-TOF was performed at low repetition rates (up to 100Hz) using legacy nitrogen lasers. The latest MALDI-TOF instrumentation supports speeds up to 2kHz for faster data acquisition, far beyond the capabilities of nitrogen lasers. The new Flare NX laser matches this speed requirement while delivering spatial resolution and superior mass resolution. The easy integration of the Flare NX also reduces the cost of MALDI-TOF measurements; with a useable lifetime in excess of 2 gigapulses, it provides a much lower cost per pulse than a nitrogen laser.
Another application for Flare NX is laser microdissection: the dissection of specific tissue sections and individual cells under visual control using a microscope. This application will benefit from the high pulse frequencies, pulse energies, and beam quality of the Flare NX, resulting in higher process speed and improved dissection quality.