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Old 04-14-2008, 06:12 PM #1
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Default Build your own diode question

I've noticed a significant lack of build your own diode threads here so I think I already know the answer but I'll still ask You know how if you have some tungsten and it's thick enough to not immediately oxidize, you can run current through it and tada, you've got a homemade lightbulb? Or you can build your own toaster by getting some of whatever metal is in those heating coils. Or you can build your own LED too I hear. And don't even get my started on homemade radio receivers and electric motors and magnetic ompasses. Well I was wondering if it was possible to build your own laser diode. I'm sure it won't be a real quality one or last long but I think it would be neat to be able to build my own super high powered one.


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Old 04-14-2008, 09:47 PM #2
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Default Re: Build your own diode question

If you have a ph.d in photonics, a high powered microscope, jewelers tools, a super extra fine soldering iron, and all the tiny little parts such as the lasing material the mirrors etc.

In short, yes its possible, but not feasible.

...lazer... ;D ;D ;D
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:50 PM #3
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Default Re: Build your own diode question

but have you seen the stuff that one guy built out of bamboo on Gilligan's Island? ;D Darn, I didn't know there were like crystals or whatever in it I figured I could build a really big one with normal tools if I had the parts but oh wellz
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:36 PM #4
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Default Re: Build your own diode question

Actually, you need even more than those things: that's what you would need in order to mount the diode to the can and connect the wires once you had the diode.

To actually make your very own laser diode, you need single crystal substrates to start with, and then your very own MBE (molecular beam epitaxy) or MOVPE/MOCVD (metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy/metal-organic chemical vapor deposition) apparatus (this is an investment over $1million, and can be $thousands a day to keep running. The element sources for these run in the $thousands, and you need several. To see what you're making, you need a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and year (or years) of training to use it. You then need the Ph.D in order to operate the tools and grow the films you need. Then you need umpteen semiconductor processing tools and techniques to fabricate the diode once you have the film stack you want. They're not the kind of thing that you can just make bigger. Especially with today's laser diodes, what makes them work so well is that they are small. A quantum well laser can't work if it's not small, because it's not a quantum well if it's not small.

So, I can get you started, in fact I'm starting this very process in the next two months, as I'm starting my Ph.D in Materials Science in May and I'll be working on blue and green laser diodes. But the university and research groups have already made the monetary investments necessary for all of this work, thank goodness.

But to get set up at home to build your own, get that Ph.D and drop $10-20million and in 5 years or so you can be making your very own laser diodes at home.
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