If you need to understand something about how our optics are likely to behave with a high power CO2 laser, take a look at our technical document, ‘Thermal Behaviour‘. It is free to download from our website, and gives a more detailed explanation as to how optical distortion occurs.
One interesting diagnostic for a CO2 laser user is the very different “time constant” associated with the distortion of Copper mirrors or ZnSe components, such as lenses or output couplers.
Distortion of the beam from Copper mirrors tends to stabilise in a fraction of a second, ZnSe components however, can take several minutes to stabilise. If your laser cutting starts well, but loses quality after a minute or two, the culprit is likely to be a ZnSe optic overheating. The end product of an overheating ZnSe component, is that the optic burns out. As the pictured input lens of this transmissive beam expander did.