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Old 09-03-2011, 05:03 PM #1
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Default A few general questions about gas lasers

So I have my olike 405nm 400mW and my first build red with a lm317 I've been curious about gas lasers as well though.

What are the benefits / downfalls to a gas laser? how exactly do they work?

What are the differences between argon, co2, and HeNe?

I didn't see any kind of "hey this is what gas lasers are" thread, If there is one floating around feel free to provide a link!


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Old 09-03-2011, 05:52 PM #2
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Default Re: A few general questions about gas lasers

Well, i'm not sure about C02 or Argon, but a HeNe tube is filled with low pressure Helium and Neon gas that is electrically exited with high voltage.

More info here: Sam's Laser FAQ - Preface, Introduction, What is a Laser?, Safety
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Old 09-03-2011, 05:53 PM #3
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Default Re: A few general questions about gas lasers

They all use different gases in a sealed tube, which gets excited by a large amount of voltage being run through it and it then causes it to emit light spontaneously. Some of them like HeNes are low powered, but they can get you light wavelengths that you would normally never see like 543nm and they don't cost that much when you consider how much a dioide or dpss 543 would cost ( easy 20k+) just for the module. As for CO2 lasers they are very cheap per mw a 10 or 20 WATT CO2 tube can cost $400 or even less. Don't know much about Argons except they can be a few WLs at once and have a few watts of visible light. The draw backs to all of them are they're bulky as hell and they CAN kill you with the voltage if you don't know what you're doing ( this isn't the case so much with a small HeNe , but it will still give you a jolt) If you want to know how they work more in depth I suggest you google it.
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:14 PM #4
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Default Re: A few general questions about gas lasers

For example take a look here.

http://www.cvimellesgriot.com/produc..._of_Lasers.pdf
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:54 AM #5
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Default Re: A few general questions about gas lasers

Thanks guys, I'll look research it a little more
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:28 AM #6
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Default Re: A few general questions about gas lasers

Gas laser beam quality is unbeatable in my humble opinion, unless your paying thousands for a solid state system.
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:17 PM #7
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Default Re: A few general questions about gas lasers

Low gain gas lasers like a HeNe laser have an excellent beamquality. CO2 lasers have a reasonably high efficiency (~20% IIRC) and can reach kilowatts of output power. Excimer lasers go deep in the UV, DPSS lasers need frequency tripling or quadrupling to get there and still some excimer lasers have shorter wavelengths.

On the other hand Ion lasers usually have an efficiency below 1 promille, HeNe lasers are hard to make becuase of the high quality mirrors and gass fill that are needed and most gas lasers require a high voltage power supply. They're usually big, heavy, fragile and expensive.
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