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Laserbuilder's collection of gas and other lasers

Laserbuilder

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183
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Laserbuilder

Active member
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
183
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43
19)

Coherent CR599 Dye Laser.

This is one of the most famous tunable dye lasers, which can work both in CW and pulsed mode. It can be tuned in the range from 250 nm to 1400 nm depending on the optics set and used dye solution. The power can be up to 4W CW with R6G dye and with 20W Argon ion input. The lasing threshold of R6G in it is at least 4W of input. In fact, this is only a heavy and very stable optical resonator with a dye nozzle in a special place. The nozzle forms a laminar dye jet, rectangular in cross section. the jet is then optically pumped with an other laser. The pumping laser can be Argon, SHG YAG (532 nm), CVL, Nitrogen, Excimer or any other suitable for the specific dye. The pumping beam is guided and focused by a mirror into the jet, the rest of it is blocked by a beam stop. The resonator is V-folded with three mirrors. There are two curved HR ones with the focus in the jet and the third, OC one is flat. All mirrors can be aligned with very comfortable screws. The wavelength tuning is achieved with a special birefringent filter (patented Coherent technology, AFAIK). The laser beam is polarized, so depending on the filter position it creates losses on all wavelengthes except one with the plane of polarization that passes the filter without any losses. If the position of the filter changes -- it begins to pass other wavelength.. Well, sorry if I cannot explain it clearly. It is better to look in the manual.

And a few words about how I got this laser into my collection. This is the result of my deal with Bob "Eidetic" Hess, this laser is from his Vintage Laser Collection. I had done an exchange with him, he was interested in old russian lasers, so I gave him three non-functional He-Ne's and a dead He-Cd one, and he gave me this dye laser.

Unfortunately, I don't have a proper dye circulator and a 20W green laser to run it((((((
 

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Laserbuilder

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183
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43
20)

LOS-4M High Energy Dye Laser

A very good example of a flaslamp pumped dye laser. It is very similar to a regular solid state one with the only difference -- instead the ruby\YAG\glass rod there is a glass hollow cuvette in which a dye solution flows. The cuvette is sorrounded with the second glass tube, and the cuvette is washed around with the filtering solution, that cuts off exessive UV from the lamps. The cuvette is sorrounded by two 1200J lamps. They don't have any water cooling, the pumping chamber has cooling fins from the outside. The HR mirror is built in the pumping chamber, the OC is in its usual place. Between the pumping chamber an OC mirror there is a fixture for a glass diffraction grating, that is missing. The grating can be rotated with a micrometer screw, so the wavelength can be changed. The output energy with R6G solution and without filtering the wavelength can be up to a couple of Joules.

Of course it needs a lot of electrical energy, which is generated in the very special power unit. The point is that the lamps must make a very short (in the microsecond range) flash, when normally their flash is 1000 times longer. The normal voltage for these lams is 1500V, the self-breakdown voltage for them is something about 2.5 kV. So, special circuitry is neede to make controlled short flashes. The power unit contains two banks of low-ESL high voltage capacitors that are charged to 5 kV. They are discharged on the lamps through a special very high current ignitron commutator. The lamp pre-ionizer is contained in the laser head and is fired synchroniously with the ignitron. All of it involves complicated control circuitry. When the unit is powere off -- the caps are deenergized through resistors and a vacuum relay. And yes, the ignitron is quite a nasty thing, because there is a pound of mercury in it. The empty place in the corner contained the dye circulator, which is missing now. Also, there is an electrical malfunction in the power unit -- the ignitron and pre-ionizer don't fire. I'll have to solve that... I hope I'll be able to make this laser work and shoot sparks from metal with the yellow-orange beam.

I am not running this thread only for my posts. I run it to share pictures and stories about my collection. So, feel free to comment and ask questions, if you are interested.
 

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paul1598419

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
18,463
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113
19)

Coherent CR599 Dye Laser.

This is one of the most famous tunable dye lasers, which can work both in CW and pulsed mode. It can be tuned in the range from 250 nm to 1400 nm depending on the optics set and used dye solution. The power can be up to 4W CW with the use of R6G dye and with 20W Argon ion input. The lasing threshold of R6G in it is at least 4W of input. In fact, this is only a heavy and very stable optical resonator with a dye nozzle in a special place. The nozzle forms a laminar dye jet, rectangular in cross section. the jet is then optically pumped with an other laser. The pumping laser can be Argon, SHG YAG (532 nm), CVL, Nitrogen, Excimer or ane other suitable for the specific dye. The pumping beam is guided and focused by a mirror into the jet, the rest of it is blocked by a beam stop. The resonator is V-folded with three mirrors. There are two curved HR ones with the focus in the jet and the third, OC one is flat. All mirrors can be aligned with very comfortable screws. The wavelength tuning is achieved with a special birefringent filter (patented Coherent technology, AFAIK). The laser beam is polarized, so depending on the filter position it creates losses on all wavelengthes except one with the plane of polarization that passes the filter without any losses. If the position of the filter changes -- it begins to pass other wavelength.. Well, sorry if I cannot explain it clearly. It is better to look in the manual.

And a few words about how I got this laser into my collection. This is the result of my deal with Bob "Eidetic" Hess, this laser is from his Vintage Laser Collection. I had done an exchange with him, he was interested in old russian lasers, so I gave him three non-functional He-Ne's and a dead He-Cd one, and he gave my this dye laser.

Unfortunately, I don't have a proper dye circulator and a 20W green laser to run it((((((

Yeah, I don't personally know anyone here that has a 20 watt green laser. They are very difficult to come by and usually extremely expensive. You may end up having this as a collection item alone.
 

Laserbuilder

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Messages
183
Points
43
Moreover, they draw 40-50 kW from the wallplug if it as an argon one. I'd like to SHG one of my YAG lasers, especially a 120W one and get at least 30-50W of green, like in Laserscope KTP532. Also I've got an offer on a 30W CVL tube, for 250$, but it will be a real trouble to get it running. A huge thyratron is needed...
 
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Laserbuilder

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21)

The last potentially operational laser in my collection at the moment.

This is a true Jomolungma of my laser collection. The laser that does not have any analogues between commercially produced lasers neither in the USSR nor in the world at all. A true "big scary laser", "Deathstar Laser Cannon" or something like that)))). GOS-1001 Neodymium Glass Laser! 1000 Joules of output, in a 50 millisecond pulse, on 1060 nm!!! And you'll not believe, but this "laser blaster" was produced commercially in relatively big quantities, for general lab or medical use. Initially it was designed for medicine, for different cancer dissections, the commercial medical unit with this laser head was called DeathrayBlaster9000, Euthanaser666 Pulsar-1000. The maximum rate of fire for it was one shot per 2 minutes, otherwise it overheats horribly and can self-destruct. It is rumored that it can shoot through 10-15 mm of steel with a single shot when tightly focused. The light intensity is so big that it easily breaks optical elements that are not intended for such use and can create really big laser sparks in air due to horrific energy. When you Q-switch it -- everything goes much, much worse. Actually q-switch is not included into standard modification. Also it can be frequency doubled... With a KTP like a man's fist in size...

Inside of the head there are an Nd:Glass rod (45*620 mm!!!) and four IFP20000 20 kJ lamps nearly a meter long. The resonator mirrors are 50 mm in diameter each, the HR one, and the OC, which has only 20% of reflectivity. The lamps are surrounded by silver plated glass reflectors that literally shrink under huge amounts of light crashing down on them. Resonator mirrors feel badly too, they can withstand only a few hundreds of shots, and then must be replaced, beacase the coatings are raptured in flaps. The only more or less long living part of this unit is the Nd:Glass rod... If cleaned crefully. Otherewise the faces of it collapse. The lamps usually can withstand a few thousands of flashes (small lamps usually have lifetime of 1000000 flashes). All in all -- this laser is like a real rifle, needs a lot of care in order to work happily. Mine is quite old and battered, the University laser lab was ready to scrap this GOS1001 head, while the power supply cabinet was already scrapped.

The PSU is a metal cabinet with the size of a big domestic wardrobe which weighs literally one ton! 2\3 of it are occupied with 4 cpacitor banks, 1200 uF 5 kV each, the rest of the place contains charging and control circuitry and the water cooler.

After getting the laser head I've purchased 32 capacitors out of 48 for it, and then found in the lab the rest of vital parts of the PSU, like ballasting chokes and triggering transformers for the flashlamps. I hope that I'll fire this laser one day.
 

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Laserbuilder

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Adding the pictures that didn't fit.

Feel free to comment and to ask questions:wave:
 

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diachi

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64070195.jpg


That thing is insane. That's got to be the biggest laser rod I've ever seen. Crazy amount of power!
 

paul1598419

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That is truly a monster. It also looks like it needs some TLC. Getting it to lase consistently will surely be a project. What are the power requirements for the whole unit? Not sure you can get what it needs in a residence.
 

Laserbuilder

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By the way, as far as I know, this is the only russian laser that had a key switch. All other, even 250W CW YAG ones didn't have it, anybody could turn them on.
 
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Laserbuilder

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What are the power requirements for the whole unit?

The lasing threshold is 15-20 kJ. My caps allow to store 40 kJ at maximum voltage. The capacitor charger peak power consumption was 5 kW, but it doesn't matter, since I can charge them slowly from microwave oven transformers.
 

paul1598419

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Yeah, I didn't think of that. Nice way to repurpose a kitchen appliance.
 

Laserbuilder

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22)

LGN703 CO2 laser

This is one of the most casual soviet\russian CO2 lasers. 40W at 10.6 um wavelength. The power supply for it I've built myself, using an NST transformer with a voltage doubler, where I used vacuum tubes instead the diode chains. The water circulator is built in the PSU.

Both mirrors of the laser are water cooled and the laser looks like to be NOS.

In action it can be seen here. https://youtu.be/vh9lQQW9JpA
 

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