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Old 08-03-2010, 07:16 PM #1
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Default What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

I recently got a $5 laser at a garage sale. When I saw size of it and heard that it was "industrial" I instantly imagined cutting metals, etc. Only after I brought it home I realized that it's just 5mW. It'a a Siemens (made in Germany) and has power supply with a key and works perfectly as far as I can tell. It's class IIIb (but I think that's old standard). Is it any more powerful than a $3 keychain laser with same 5mW rating? Can it's power be increased or is it pretty much worthless piece of antique tech?


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Old 08-03-2010, 07:20 PM #2
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

It is *brighter* than a $3 keychain laser, as its 632.8nm (more of an orangish red) vs the keychain laser's 660-670nm deep red. So not neccessarily more powerful (though granted, most "5mW" keychain lasers are actually 2-3mW, whereas this is likely actually 5mW).

It will appear ~3-4x brighter at the exact same output.

You can do holography with it, if you're into that sort of thing. You can't increase its output, unfortunately. It's output is based on the size and length of the physical bore.

And if you don't find it interesting, I'll buy it from you for $15 and you'll make a profit I like gas lasers
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532nm:PGL3C 150mW(180pk) ∙ PGL3C 578mWpk ∙ PLC 440mWpk
515nm:JDS 221420GL ArI 30mW
510nm:52mW DG#2 ∙ 50mW 26650 DG
488nm:Nlx DPSS 7mW ∙ JDS 2214 ArI 40mW ∙ JDS FCD488 DPSS 25mW
ML:MG 65A106025 ArI ML 115mW
476/480nm:Nichia Diode 28mW
473nm:PGL3A 45mW(80pk) ∙ PGL3C 110mWpk ∙ PGL3C 95mWpk ∙ RPLB-25 60mWpk
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458nm:JDS 2214VL ArI 8mW ∙ JDS 2214VL ArI 12mW ∙ RHD Diode 1.7W
452nm:Osram SM 47mW
445nm:Yob 1410mW ∙ Polaris 156mW ∙ PGL3C 1200mW ∙ DTR-EHG 32650 2136mW
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:31 PM #3
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

Thanks arytntha! I actually find it interesting, but 2 days ago I almost put it on ebay. Now after reading thru these forums and on HeNe lasers in general not so sure I'm itching to take it apart and see how light gets pumped in the tube. Maybe I can take some interesting pictures/videos of it... Do you know if power supply can be used with a bigger HeNe tube that's generates more output? BTW I didn't know key-chain lasers are underpowered, interesting stuff!
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:51 PM #4
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

In HeNe lasers, light is generated inside the tube rather than pumped in like diode- and lamp-pumped lasers. It's basically a very narrow, straight neon sign tube with a little helium added and a mirror at each end.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:02 PM #5
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

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Originally Posted by ElektroFreak View Post
In HeNe lasers, light is generated inside the tube rather than pumped in like diode- and lamp-pumped lasers. It's basically a very narrow, straight neon sign tube with a little helium added and a mirror at each end.
Ah ok I have no idea how semiconductor lasers work, but I remember from high school a model of ruby rod laser that had one half reflective and one fully reflective mirror on both sides, I guess gas laser works in the similar way. Found a nice article which I'm reading right now: Sam's Laser FAQ - Helium-Neon Lasers
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:15 PM #6
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

The power supplies are usually fairly closely matched (current, mA) for a specific range of tubes. You could probably power a slightly higher output head with it, but I'd research it first; it's not the laser head yo'ud be likely to destroy though, it's the power supply.

Keep in mind there's 1700-3500v coming out of these things so do be very careful.
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808nm:OLIKE 200mW ∙ JETL PLC 600mW(682pk)
780nm:OLIKE 120mW
685nm:18650 47mW
671nm:PGL3M 281mW DPSS ∙ PGL3C 278mW
655nm:LOC 254mW ∙ OLIKE 221mW ∙ Yob 320mW
638nm:Sanyo 40mW ∙ HL63133 200mW ∙ PGL3C 463mWpk ∙ ML520 700mW
633nm:JDS1145 HeNe 28mW ∙ JDS1145 HeNe 26mW
612nm:MG 05LOR151 HeNe 3mW ∙ REO LSTP 3mW
609nm:REO LHOR 1mW
604nm:REO LSTP 2mW
594nm:Rigel 3mW ∙ LG PGL3C 15mWpk ∙ Lasos 7512 3mW ∙ CNI MGL3 58mWpk
589nm:CNI PGL3C 106mW ∙ CNI PGL3C 85mW
561nm:CNI PGL3C 30mW(41pk)
556nm:CNI PGL3C 20mW(22pk)
544nm:JDS1675P HeNe 2mW ∙ REO LHGR 2mW ∙ Lasos 7786 2mW
532nm:PGL3C 150mW(180pk) ∙ PGL3C 578mWpk ∙ PLC 440mWpk
515nm:JDS 221420GL ArI 30mW
510nm:52mW DG#2 ∙ 50mW 26650 DG
488nm:Nlx DPSS 7mW ∙ JDS 2214 ArI 40mW ∙ JDS FCD488 DPSS 25mW
ML:MG 65A106025 ArI ML 115mW
476/480nm:Nichia Diode 28mW
473nm:PGL3A 45mW(80pk) ∙ PGL3C 110mWpk ∙ PGL3C 95mWpk ∙ RPLB-25 60mWpk
465nm:DTR NDB7676 2.03w
458nm:JDS 2214VL ArI 8mW ∙ JDS 2214VL ArI 12mW ∙ RHD Diode 1.7W
452nm:Osram SM 47mW
445nm:Yob 1410mW ∙ Polaris 156mW ∙ PGL3C 1200mW ∙ DTR-EHG 32650 2136mW
405nm:Yob 630mW ∙ Qfox 750mW ∙ JETL PLC 780mW
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:48 PM #7
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

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...Found a nice article which I'm reading right now: Sam's Laser FAQ - Helium-Neon Lasers
Glad you're reading this! Our good friend Sam G. is pretty much the undisputed guru of all things that lase. His LaserFAQ is a true resource of accurate technical data on nearly all gas lasers and power supplies. It's a good primer also to learn the concept of operation of gas lasers .

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Old 08-04-2010, 06:11 PM #8
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

The HeNe laser works like this: There is a mixture of Helium and Neon in the innermost tube. About 70% Helium, 30% Neon I believe. Then the Helium atoms are pumped with energy to match the energy state of the Neon atoms. Collision then transfers the energy to the Neon, which emits a photon of wavelength 632.8 (usually). Then a few of these photons get trapped between the HR (high reflector) and OC (output coupler) mirrors. As these photons travel back and forth, others also travel parallel with those photons. During this process the output coupler, a mirror with a transmisison of maybe 1% or so, allows a small percentage of light to escape - that's the light you see.

Incase you were wondering how it works. HeNe's are really cool - it's a fun project to build one if you ever get the chance too. You can do alot of cool stuff with an external mirror cavity.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:19 PM #9
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

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HeNe's are really cool - it's a fun project to build one if you ever get the chance too. You can do alot of cool stuff with an external mirror cavity.
Yeap... that is how I got into lasers. I built my first HeNe back in 1973, the sensation one gets when the first beam appears, is indescribable, that thin 632.8nm red-orange straight beam coming from what you built was so impressive. I am guessing it was <5mW. Later I bought one from Edmund Scientific and used it to learn about optics, physics, etc. But eventually I got hooked with holography and quantum chemistry experiments.

So, enjoy it, learn from it. It is a relatively safe laser and the best way to learn to create your own holograms.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:23 PM #10
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

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Can it's power be increased or is it pretty much worthless piece of antique tech?

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It is *brighter* than a $3 keychain laser, as its 632.8nm (more of an orangish red) vs the keychain laser's 660-670nm deep red. So not neccessarily more powerful (though granted, most "5mW" keychain lasers are actually 2-3mW, whereas this is likely actually 5mW).

It will appear ~3-4x brighter at the exact same output.

You can do holography with it, if you're into that sort of thing. You can't increase its output, unfortunately. It's output is based on the size and length of the physical bore.

And if you don't find it interesting, I'll buy it from you for $15 and you'll make a profit I like gas lasers

Just for the record and safety's sake, I have had dollar store key chain pointers test up to 11mW on full batteries. Got to be careful with China products and assumption when your eyes are involved...

You can also squeeze a bit more power out of a HeNe by surrounding or lining the tube with magnets in a certain fashion. I have also heard of some tubes being bought with magnets already in place, though I have not personally tried nor seen this up close.

IIRC its called the 'Zeeman effect', but am probably wrong, possibly LaserFAQ can chime in on this. There is some reading here about boosting output via magnets..

http://www.jklasers.com/HeNe/HeNe_Laser_Report.htm

If one thing is for sure, the HeNe's beam quality is far superior to any low cost LD ive seen. I bought a case of 635nm diodes some time back and all the ones I assembled looked nothing like a HeNe's beam other than the orange tinted dot. Though im sure there are some that may come close, just never seen it personally.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:39 AM #11
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

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If one thing is for sure, the HeNe's beam quality is far superior to any low cost LD ive seen. personally.
The HeNe is well known for it's beam quality. Usually they have close to 1 M^2 and very low divergence. Considered the best quality beams. That's why they are often used for alignment.
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:13 AM #12
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

wait you went to a garage sale and bought a gas laser. and people are just ok with that. where do you live that people just have gas lasers laying around for 5 bucks.
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:18 AM #13
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

Yeah... No kidding. I can search the entire town here in an entire weekend at garage sales and find nothing but used baby supplies and Captain and Tennille records.

Consider yourself pretty lucky, Bratan.

(Maybe he lives in a college town, or a town with research labs in it?)
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3392nm:REO LHIP HeNe 2mW ∙ 980nm:OLIKE 155mW

808nm:OLIKE 200mW ∙ JETL PLC 600mW(682pk)
780nm:OLIKE 120mW
685nm:18650 47mW
671nm:PGL3M 281mW DPSS ∙ PGL3C 278mW
655nm:LOC 254mW ∙ OLIKE 221mW ∙ Yob 320mW
638nm:Sanyo 40mW ∙ HL63133 200mW ∙ PGL3C 463mWpk ∙ ML520 700mW
633nm:JDS1145 HeNe 28mW ∙ JDS1145 HeNe 26mW
612nm:MG 05LOR151 HeNe 3mW ∙ REO LSTP 3mW
609nm:REO LHOR 1mW
604nm:REO LSTP 2mW
594nm:Rigel 3mW ∙ LG PGL3C 15mWpk ∙ Lasos 7512 3mW ∙ CNI MGL3 58mWpk
589nm:CNI PGL3C 106mW ∙ CNI PGL3C 85mW
561nm:CNI PGL3C 30mW(41pk)
556nm:CNI PGL3C 20mW(22pk)
544nm:JDS1675P HeNe 2mW ∙ REO LHGR 2mW ∙ Lasos 7786 2mW
532nm:PGL3C 150mW(180pk) ∙ PGL3C 578mWpk ∙ PLC 440mWpk
515nm:JDS 221420GL ArI 30mW
510nm:52mW DG#2 ∙ 50mW 26650 DG
488nm:Nlx DPSS 7mW ∙ JDS 2214 ArI 40mW ∙ JDS FCD488 DPSS 25mW
ML:MG 65A106025 ArI ML 115mW
476/480nm:Nichia Diode 28mW
473nm:PGL3A 45mW(80pk) ∙ PGL3C 110mWpk ∙ PGL3C 95mWpk ∙ RPLB-25 60mWpk
465nm:DTR NDB7676 2.03w
458nm:JDS 2214VL ArI 8mW ∙ JDS 2214VL ArI 12mW ∙ RHD Diode 1.7W
452nm:Osram SM 47mW
445nm:Yob 1410mW ∙ Polaris 156mW ∙ PGL3C 1200mW ∙ DTR-EHG 32650 2136mW
405nm:Yob 630mW ∙ Qfox 750mW ∙ JETL PLC 780mW
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:14 AM #14
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

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Originally Posted by iwannapony View Post
wait you went to a garage sale and bought a gas laser. and people are just ok with that. where do you live that people just have gas lasers laying around for 5 bucks.
We live in Eureka

(Get it? Eureka, as in the TV show)
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Building Laser Pointers Using the 445nm Laser Diodes
Diode Lasers:
405nm: 15 and 35mW built, PHR 405nm, 100mW, Dagin's Dorcy built ~200mW
445nm: Built ~3W and Jayrob Built - 445nm <1W
532nm: 70mW and ~200mW
635/650nm: 200mW, and several builds
Gas Lasers:
337nm: Nitrogen (N2) laser, 3mW, 175uJ/pulse, peak @ 30kW and a 6mW, 260uJ/pulse, peak @ 75kW
632nm: Melles Griot HeNe, 0.5, 1. 0 5 0 and 15. 0mW
Dye Laser(s):

380-~1000nm: Different laser dyes, different wavelenghts, different laser powers.

Crystal Laser:
Holmium YAG (Ho:YAG) laser, 2.1 μm, 53W

Assorted laser accessories, including LPM, optics, and a holography table.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:18 AM #15
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

Man, I remember those days... I lived on HeNe. I was so freaked out when I started using my <5mW HeNe at my bands live shows... we were SOOOO cool. Hang on to this laser! Put it away, and maybe 50 years from now John Titor himself will come back in time and need it for a build!
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50mW 532nm Pen style
200mW 532nm Labby
1W 445nm Spyder Arctic S3
10mW Bluray Pen style
The BR Home Build has started!
200mW 650nm O-LIKE 200
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:07 AM #16
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Default Re: What can I do with a 5mW industrial Ne-He laser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey View Post
Put it away, and maybe 50 years from now John Titor himself will come back in time and need it for a build!
Man. I thought nobody would mention that guy ever again. But Titor only deals with the bendy, floppy sort of light.
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3392nm:REO LHIP HeNe 2mW ∙ 980nm:OLIKE 155mW

808nm:OLIKE 200mW ∙ JETL PLC 600mW(682pk)
780nm:OLIKE 120mW
685nm:18650 47mW
671nm:PGL3M 281mW DPSS ∙ PGL3C 278mW
655nm:LOC 254mW ∙ OLIKE 221mW ∙ Yob 320mW
638nm:Sanyo 40mW ∙ HL63133 200mW ∙ PGL3C 463mWpk ∙ ML520 700mW
633nm:JDS1145 HeNe 28mW ∙ JDS1145 HeNe 26mW
612nm:MG 05LOR151 HeNe 3mW ∙ REO LSTP 3mW
609nm:REO LHOR 1mW
604nm:REO LSTP 2mW
594nm:Rigel 3mW ∙ LG PGL3C 15mWpk ∙ Lasos 7512 3mW ∙ CNI MGL3 58mWpk
589nm:CNI PGL3C 106mW ∙ CNI PGL3C 85mW
561nm:CNI PGL3C 30mW(41pk)
556nm:CNI PGL3C 20mW(22pk)
544nm:JDS1675P HeNe 2mW ∙ REO LHGR 2mW ∙ Lasos 7786 2mW
532nm:PGL3C 150mW(180pk) ∙ PGL3C 578mWpk ∙ PLC 440mWpk
515nm:JDS 221420GL ArI 30mW
510nm:52mW DG#2 ∙ 50mW 26650 DG
488nm:Nlx DPSS 7mW ∙ JDS 2214 ArI 40mW ∙ JDS FCD488 DPSS 25mW
ML:MG 65A106025 ArI ML 115mW
476/480nm:Nichia Diode 28mW
473nm:PGL3A 45mW(80pk) ∙ PGL3C 110mWpk ∙ PGL3C 95mWpk ∙ RPLB-25 60mWpk
465nm:DTR NDB7676 2.03w
458nm:JDS 2214VL ArI 8mW ∙ JDS 2214VL ArI 12mW ∙ RHD Diode 1.7W
452nm:Osram SM 47mW
445nm:Yob 1410mW ∙ Polaris 156mW ∙ PGL3C 1200mW ∙ DTR-EHG 32650 2136mW
405nm:Yob 630mW ∙ Qfox 750mW ∙ JETL PLC 780mW
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