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Sci Am Argon laser

Anthony P

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Years ago I successfully constructed an argon laser nearly identical to the Scientific American article. The device emitted 10 separate laser beams... 1 from each end and 1 from each face of the windows in both directions. At the time I thought that an internal mirror configuration would be a worthwhile experiment. The remake version became operational a few weeks ago. Pictures will be posted soon. Currently trying different mirror configurations.
Also, lost touch with Sam G over the years. Does he still frequent any forums?
 



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Last I checked you can still email Sam Goldwasser at the email address in his Laser FAQs. I'm not sure what you mean by constructed an argon laser. Are you saying you made the glass envelope and filled it? I guess I will need to see photos of what you are talking about.
 

Anthony P

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Yes, hired out the glass blowing to eagle laboratory glass. 120 hz pulse. neon sign transformer with variac and dual hail wave rectifier. Tesla coil igniter. vacuum and gas system. O-ring mirror mounts for internal configuration.
I was kicking around the idea of a youtube video, but I will try to get some photos posted in the next few days.
 
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It is quite unusual to find someone who builds one of these from scratch. Do you have any idea what kind of power you are getting out of it? They tend to take a great deal of power in to get a little out. Mine pulls 12 amps at 110 VAC. It puts out <100 mW in a single line, 488nm. It is just one of my gas lasers in my collection.
 

Anthony P

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My power meter is not really made for 120 hz pulse, but I would estimate in the order of tens to hundreds microwatts. I may try an OC with higher transmission. I know the circulating power in the cavity is very high because in the original version ( external mirrors) the beams emitted from the window faces into the room were very intense. Way more than the beams emitted from the OC. Today I got more output by changing the OC from 99% to about 96%. I am not sure how far I can go without losing sufficient feedback into the resonator.
 

kecked

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I have a the original book with the design if you’d like a scan of it. It’s just a few pages.
 
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It is rare to find someone with so many OC mirrors that will work with a specific gas laser. I imagine you will have to trial and error the exact transmission percent to get the maximum output.
 

Anthony P

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I also have the original article, but thank you so much for the offer.
I have 3 mirror sets. 1 was custom made by CVI laser 20 years ago (ar1-0537-0-2.00cc) $$$. 2 is a surplus set remove from from a large frame argon by MWK also 20 years old. 3 was a very old set from Henry Prescott of North Country Scientific. This set have the old school water soluble coatings and I am not sure if they are still viable. North Country is no longer in business. After Mr. Prescott passed away his family sold off remaining inventory. They had complete kits for all of the lasers in the Scientific American articles.
The most difficult parts to find were pyrex neon sign electrodes. There are only a few suppliers overseas and you have to buy a case. I raided my scrap box for electrodes for this project.
I am thinking of having a custom OC made, but not sure how far to go with transmission%. "Trial and error"... well, that is very pricey error.
 
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Yes, if you have to buy more mirrors, it could get very expensive. I would try to contact Sam Goldwasser by email. He is the most likely candidate to give you the information you need to proceed without having to guess.
 

CurtisOliver

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That's pretty impressive stuff Anthony. Yep, contact Sam directly as it will cost far too much if you go by trial and error for the oc. Better to find out first. Anyway, good job so far. Like Paul said, there aren't many that go out to build an argon. (y)
 
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The photos are a bit difficult to make out. From what I can see your power supply is very much a homemade effort. Would love to see some beam shots if you have it lasing.
 
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Regardless of output power, the beam shot is the most important part. It does have that argon color. NICE!
 

Anthony P

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Just built the shelf to retire the argon project. Does anyone have any suggestions for experiments or questions? Kicking around the idea for a short youtube video. I will post all the data I have before shelving it.
 




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