Advancements in photonics have driven the adoption of laser technologies in everything from military, aerospace, semiconductor and electronics, healthcare, medical life sciences, automotive, and manufacturing verticals. Increasingly, laser-based solutions are being developed to solve problems in cutting, marking, ablation, and measuring applications. High diode lasers are also used in 3D-sensing applications in gaming and PC markets. Small form factors, uniform heating, and higher watt densities are critical to performance in high-reliability optical technology devices.


Backer Hotwatt provides dependable and high-performing heating elements for photonics. We solve challenging problems with unique solutions that our competitors won’t … or can’t. This means you can be assured that Backer Hotwatt engineers will work hand-in-hand with your team to meet all your unique performance, physical, and regulatory requirements to ensure a successful product launch and commercialization.

Backer Hotwatt specialty heaters for photonics applications include:

  • Integrated circuits
  • Crystal oscillators
  • Lasers, and their associated temperature control systems

This resource page allows you to explore the different laser and optoelectronic applications we create precise heat for, and the various standard and custom cartridge heaters that are available to you for your unique needs. There is a link in each section below that will take you to the corresponding standard heaters generally used for the applications highlighted on this page. If you are looking for a custom solution, contact us to begin the discussion with an engineer. You can click on a product group that interests you to be taken directly to that topic or read through to learn about our comprehensive product line serving laser and optoelectronic OEMs, and ultimately, patients and customers.


Stabilizing Temperature in Lasing Mediums

Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillators (OCXOs) & Crystal Mounts

Cryogenic and Chilling Systems

Stabilizing Temperature in Lasing Mediums

Lasers work on the principle of heat generation. Temperature control of solid-state lasers is fundamental to them:

  • Functionating optimally
  • Providing consistent results
  • Having reliable wavelength selection
  • Achieving rapid temperature recovery
  • Preserving the life and function of your laser

It is also what has allowed lasers to advance into many industries and countless applications. Medical and advanced industrial OEMs rely on lasers’ tight temperature stability, which impacts their ability to target and cut precisely, allowing them to be implemented in a wide variety of uses

You’ll find lasers in everything from industrial applications to innovative medical laser technologies in healthcare and cosmetics—many of which are considered minimally invasive medical procedures. Among the long list of laser applications are the following:

  • CNC, metal fabrication, cutting
  • Drilling
  • Welding
  • Cleaning
  • Marking and engraving metal and non-metal materials for vast industries
  • Surface processing
  • 3D printing
  • Robotics—industrial and surgical

  • Metrology
  • Factory automation
  • Precision motion
  • Industrial and medical ablation
  • Laser hair removal
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Ophthalmology
  • Laboratory equipment

With such extensive usage, lasers have different wattages, requiring heat controls for their unique heat loads based on the current and voltage. Temperature stability affects power, which can impact the laser’s ability to cut accurate depths consistently throughout its operating cycle requirements. Laser systems require thermal management, as changes in temperature directly impact the laser’s light quality. Build up in the wavelength can lead to excessive heat, damaging its light-emitting properties and denigrating the light’s quality, possibly impacting the performance and quality of the end product. This is why they also employ passive and active cooling systems that work in concert with the heating to ensure that the build up in thermal energy remains
under control.

Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillators (OCXOs) & Crystal Mounts

Quartz-based frequency control devices provide exceptionally high levels of temperature stability. Maintaining a quartz crystal’s constant operating temperature avoids fluctuations and retains stability in the specified frequency of the oscillator that might otherwise be impacted by ambient temperatures—vital because the frequency output depends on the quartz crystal’s reliable temperature.

To operate effectively, ovens are required to keep this constant high temperature, so it is imperative to thermostatically control the temperature to retain the stable signal source of the oven-controlled crystal oscillators (OCXOs). Crystal ovens range in temperature from 158° F (70° C) to 185° F (85° C). The crystal mounts can be placed in a variety of thermally integral units, which would also include a thermostatically controlled micro-cartridge heater. The crystals are heated up to a far higher temperature than electronic equipment would normally “require” (or be able to handle), but can be maintained at this constant, stable temperature with the right heating element.

Micro-cartridge and flexible heaters ensure stability and performance in crystal ovens


This requires a closed system, with a feedback loop between the heating element that regulates the crystal’s heat and a thermistor to monitor the heat of the crystal.

Backer Hotwatt’s micro-cartridge and flex circuit heaters are used to stabilize crystal mounts so OCXOs can provide lasting stability of these lasing mediums. As applications require their unique performance parameters and specifications, our engineers will work with you to develop the design and function needed for your project.

Cryogenic and Chilling Systems

Achieving freezing temperatures—and controlling the environment—requires a specialized system. One might
not think heat is required, but thermal conduction is one common method used in cryogenic and chilling
systems. Thermodynamics occur when two products come into contact with each other for a heat exchange:
heat transfers from the hottest product to the coldest. With cryogenic applications and chillers, the extreme cold transmits by bringing a solid, liquid, or gas into contact with a cryogenic liquid. The original element then reaches the desired cryogenic temperature. Heat control is needed to maintain the proper temperature and pressure required for the specific application.

Cryogenic engineers are concerned with directing and organizing the flow of heat in these matters. Maintaining heat (and cold) in a steady-state manner requires precise heat and temperature management in a closed-loop system.

Specialty Profiled Cartridge Heaters
Backer Hotwatt’s specialty profiled cartridge heaters are used to maintain pressure in cyrogenic cannisters for medical lasers. The flat profile allows for maximum surface contact on the cannister, ensuring optimal heat transfer.

Backer Hotwatt manufactures shaped (and custom) cartridge heaters that are used to stabilize pressure in cryogenic systems.

Precision Heating Solutions for Challenging Applications

Backer Hotwatt solves challenging problems with unique solutions that our competitors won’t or can’t provide. When it comes to controlling the environment of your application, heat and temperature are crucial to consider. Selecting the right heating element allows you to ensure the level of safety, allows you to attain optimal performance, and improves the overall efficiency of the heater’s end use.

Whatever your design or engineering challenge is, Backer Hotwatt has the expertise and broad technology base to develop a customized and dependable product for your unique needs. Whether you are heating air, fluids, gases, or other surfaces, our engineers can develop a solution that helps your application function most efficiently.

Established in 1952, Backer Hotwatt, Inc. has been a trusted source of superior quality heating elements for OEMs in the medical, industrial, semiconductor, commercial, packaging, instrumentation, aviation, transportation, refrigeration/air conditioning, and military fields for almost 70 years. We’re here to help you design and manufacture the best heater for your crucial heat control requirements. How can we help you with your next heating project? Contact an engineer today to set up an exploration consultation. We look forward to helping you soon.


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