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problems with air (nitrogen) laser

Petersoft

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
38
Points
8
Hello. Recently I was planning to build an air laser based on information from styropyro and plasmachannel films. The 2 capacitors I built here have 4.5nF each. as a laser gap I used aluminum profiles which I sanded with very fine sandpaper. the spark gap is just a wire and a coin. as a source of high voltage I used a standard stun gun module, I tried to change the distance between the laser gap and the spark gap, but it didn't help and I can't make this laser work. I would be very grateful for any advice on what should I do to make this laser work. below I added some pictures of my laser so you can see how it is built. Thank you in advance for your help and best regards
 

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Anthony P

Well-known member
LPF Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
528
Points
63
I have built several N2 lasers over thee years. The device works much, much better in pure nitrogen at around a 27 inch vacuum rather than air. The distance on your spark gap trigger is critical ( the distance on your penny to wire electrode). If it is too short, no laser. If it is too long, you risk blowing a hole though your capacitor laminate. Your laminate is critical. Polyester sheets work well ( used in laminating machines). They must be the uncoated type. Some have a microscopic Al coating to protect documents... these will not work. Also, looking at your discharge electrodes (Aluminum square stock), the edges should be sharp, not rounded.
Once you get it working, you can tell if it is lasing by shining it on a piece of paper colored with fluorescent highlighter. Below threshold there will just be an undefined flash of light on target. When it is actually lasing, there will be a bright bar shape on card, similar to a lasr diode.
If you closely follow the design parameters in the Scientific American article (June, 1974) it will work. There is room for improvement on this design, however. Use JB Weld, not silicon caulking. Use FR4 board, not G10.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/24950104?seq=1

 

Petersoft

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
38
Points
8
I have built several N2 lasers over thee years. The device works much, much better in pure nitrogen at around a 27 inch vacuum rather than air. The distance on your spark gap trigger is critical ( the distance on your penny to wire electrode). If it is too short, no laser. If it is too long, you risk blowing a hole though your capacitor laminate. Your laminate is critical. Polyester sheets work well ( used in laminating machines). They must be the uncoated type. Some have a microscopic Al coating to protect documents... these will not work. Also, looking at your discharge electrodes (Aluminum square stock), the edges should be sharp, not rounded.
Once you get it working, you can tell if it is lasing by shining it on a piece of paper colored with fluorescent highlighter. Below threshold there will just be an undefined flash of light on target. When it is actually lasing, there will be a bright bar shape on card, similar to a lasr diode.
If you closely follow the design parameters in the Scientific American article (June, 1974) it will work. There is room for improvement on this design, however. Use JB Weld, not silicon caulking. Use FR4 board, not G10.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/24950104?seq=1

Thanks!
 

kecked

0
Joined
Jun 18, 2012
Messages
807
Points
63
Can you use razor blades? The long ones for electrodes? Might eat the edge pretty fast however. Was thinking a micrometer could move the gap precisely. Also can you use copper sheet for the electrodes over glass like a tesla coil cap? Doubt it would Break that down. Heck why not etch a double sided pcb with heavy copper like 2 oz.

example http://technology.niagarac.on.ca/people/mcsele/lasers/LasersN2.htm
 
Last edited:

Anthony P

Well-known member
LPF Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
528
Points
63
Is that high voltage module outputting AC or DC. DC at tiny amperage will charge your plates at its own rate and fire whenever it is ready. AC will work, but at a high pulse rate(2x AC Hz). This requires some significant amperage 30+mA to charge the plates before the sign wave AC swings.
 




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