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Active Q Switching

Our active Q switched lasers have the ability to deliver a single high-energy pulse. This is important because only the 1st pulse is able to shatter the tattoo pigment, leaving water vapour behind forming a frosted white appearance.

Asian Tattoo
Asian Tattoo

This frosted white reaction forms an impenetrable optical shield. If additional pulses are stacked in the same area they will only have the unwanted effect of over heating the skin resulting in thermal damage.

Laser Tattoo Removal Mechanism
Laser Tattoo Removal Mechanism
Laser Tattoo Removal Mechanism
Laser Tattoo Removal Mechanism

We are able to deliver a square homogenous dose of laser light without any hot spots ensuring energy is evenly distributed over the tattoo. The square beam profile enables very accurate coverage of the tattoo without any unwanted overlap of pulses. Any excess heat is removed by skin cooling using forced cold air.

Passive Q Switching

Most of the technologies advertised for the removal of tattoos are cheaper lasers that produce a smaller pulse of energy, delivered rapidly (like a machine gun) into the skin at 10 shots per second. It is impossible to accurately control shot placement and subsequent overlapping overdoses the skin causing heat damage.

Active Q switching is like effectively using a large hammer to hit a stone with a single hard blow

Passive Q switching is like ineffectively using a small hammer to lightly tap the stone repeatedly

Spot Size

Our advanced high-powered lasers enable larger spot sizes up to 8mm. The larger the spot size the deeper the energy can be placed.
High single pulse energy and large spot sizes enable much deeper laser penetration depths. The result is effective treatment of deep lying tattoo pigment.

Spot Size & Chart

Due to higher single pulse energies, larger spotsizes with larger penetration depths can be used thereby enabling treatments of deeper-lying targets.

Cheaper lasers typically have a 1mm spot size and hence treatment is limited to superficial targets.

Pulse Width

Maximal temperatures reached inside a treated tattoo particle are estimated to be over 900 degrees centigrade. Skin only has the ability to tolerate these incredible temperatures for a very short duration, hence our lasers use extremely short pulse widths (shutter speeds) of typically 6 billionths of a second. Short pulse widths ensure heat damage to the skin is minimal.
Additional skin protection is provided with refrigerated cold air directed over the skin during treatment to ensure any unwanted heat transferred to the skin is effectively removed.


No single laser can remove all types of tattoo ink and hence multiple laser wavelengths are required to optimally remove a professional multi-coloured tattoo.

These tattoos contain a variety of inks and dyes with each colour often made of a range of individual pigments. At least 60 trade colours from 18 chemical compounds exist. Colours that appear visually similar will often respond differently to laser depending on the pigment mix. This is further complicated by the fact that many older tattoos contain heavy metal salts leading to variable or inconsistent responses.

As different inks and different colours react in diverse ways to laser light best results are achieved with as many colours of laser light as possible.

The best absorption of a particular laser colour (wavelength) is achieved in its complementary colour.

Wavelength Values

At our Cambridge Laser Clinic, the following colours of laser light are available:

Nd Yag 1064nm (Invisible Infrared) for the removal of black, dark blue, white, grey and brown ink
Ruby 694nm (Deep Red Light) for the treatment of black, blue and green ink
KTP 532nm (Green Light) for the treatment of red, dark blue, orange and purple ink

Dye Handpieces

None of our tattoo removal lasers utilise inefficient energy sapping dye handpieces.
Multiple laser platforms are now available claiming to treat all colours of tattoo ink. Unfortunately these lasers have a single primary laser and numerous attachments that alter this wavelength to a different colour. Each time the beam passes through the dye handpiece, the energy output usually drops by 50%. Often the beam is passed through 2 separate dye handpieces to achieve a certain colour of laser light hence the resultant energy output is only 25% of the primary laser.
This is a cheap method of claiming you possess all the necessary laser light colours to remove multi-coloured tattoos. Unfortunately due to low power outputs, results will be disappointing.

Pico Lasers

These lasers are massively expensive to purchase and have very high running costs. Acquisition and maintenance expenses have subsequently been passed onto clients through high cost procedures.

This technology was initially advertised as being capable of delivering tattoo removal 4 times more quickly than the most advanced Q switched lasers. This claim is no longer made by any manufactures.

Most of these lasers are single cavity platforms with one primary laser. They struggle with multi-coloured tattoos and some manufacturers have since added energy sapping dye handpieces (see comments above) to try and overcome this problem.

For certain inks and dyes, pico technologies may outperform a Q switched laser by delivering quicker results in the first 5 treatment sessions, but beyond this advantages rapidly fade.

The appropriate range of active Q switched lasers still represent the optimal technologies for the removal of a multi-coloured tattoo.

Fractional Q switched lasers

This is the latest advance in Q switched laser technology.
Fractional lasers only treat part of the skin leaving uninjured skin around the treatment site. Our lasers have the ability to split the laser beam into a matrix of 70 microscopic laser beams each 200um in diameter to drill into the tattoo. Only 10% of the surface is exposed to the laser on each pass leaving much of the surrounding skin undisturbed. These micro-beams are able to penetrate much deeper into the skin than the standard beam, producing micro-bleeding by fenestration of capillaries. Platelet release and the stimulation of wound healing response enables fractionated treatments to deliver the following

  • An acceleration of recovery times in the early stages of tattoo removal
  • An effective treatment of stubborn recalcitrant inks
  • Clinical improvement in cases of ‘white ghosting’ or unwanted scarring following laser treatment.
Tattoo Removal Example
Tattoo Removal Example

Within the same session we will often perform several passes in a fractionated mode prior to a traditional Q switched treatment

Our expert medical team has in excess of 25 years laser experience and have completed more than 120,000 successful treatments. Rest assured you are in safe hands. All procedures at our Cambridge Laser Clinic are performed by fully qualified doctors, nurses and practitioners.
To ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained at all times, our staff are never offered bonus incentives to sell treatments.
Although medical laser clinics are no longer regulated by the CQC (Care Quality Commission), we continue to adhere to the strict standards that were in the past mandatory under government legislation. This is the best indicator currently available that our Cambridge Laser Clinic is trustworthy.

All consultations are free of charge so why not call our team of experts today?