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The first time you've seen a new wavelength

MarioMaster

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it is indeed a krypton laser, pure krypton though, no argon
 

flogged

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The first laser I purchased was a used He-Ne in the late 80's. I had to attach a power cord to the high voltage power supply, and I remember being terrified the first time I plugged it in. It lased however, and I had a lot of fun with this (1 mW??) laser. The color seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. At that time lasers were large and expensive beasts, so I did not acquire another one.

Time passed. Sometime in the 90's I remember a friend telling me about visible 'diode lasers' of the sort found in CD players. This intrigued me. I seem to recall looking at the Edmund Scientific catalog and finding diode laser pointers. At that time they still cost hundreds of dollars so I didn't get one.

It wasn't until 2001/2002 that the laser bug really bit. A friend showed his cheap keychain red laser pointer. I fell in love with the rich, deep & saturated red of 655nm. I remember running out to Target to purchase several. I was amazed at how this tiny device essentially obsoleted the much bulkier and more expensive gas lasers. I read all I could about laser diodes. I even had dreams about speckled light sources. (lol)

I decided (this was in early 2002 I believe) to order a 'modded' green laser from Z-bolt.com - a 5 mW 532nm job. It cost close to $200.00. This laser really impressed me. My first impression was how overwhelmingly bright the laser spot seemed. Almost like glancing at the sun. That 532nm color really is something. It's very bright, garish and attention getting, without being too obnoxious. The 532nm color seemed so exotic and other-worldly.. like some sort of alien gadget. It remains one of my favorite laser colors.

Next I ordered a ~5mW 635 nm laser (again from z-bolt). The color immediately reminded me of my old He-Ne color. It's not as pure and saturated a red as 655nm.. more pink I guess. Later I DIY'ed a few ~15mW 635nm pointers. I remember taking these out on a very cold Winter night (-20C) and noting how much more orange they looked. Because of the temperature/wavelength shift they may have been lasing <625nm. This makes me think I'd really love an orange laser pointer, or at least orange/red (610-620nm).

Then a few years back (2008) I DIY'ed a 405nm laser pointer. I must say I didn't (and don't) care for the color much. It's almost a pure violet, but there is just enought blue added in to make it otherwise. I liked the 'blacklight' effect of the violet, but I found the 405nm aggravated and annoyed my eyes if I used it for any length of time. I'm planning on building a 445nm pointer soon - it seems like a much better color (visually) than 405nm - an electric 'lightsaber' color that you can't miss. Prolly my favorite blue (which I haven't seen yet 'live') is 473nm - close to a sky blue. It still remains an expensive color unfortunately.

The next laser diode (cause I love laser diodes) I must have are the 510nm green ones just hitting the market now. I want one of these more than a blue laser, and waiting for these diodes to be available.

It's amazing to think powerful & inexpensive laser pointers really have not been available for much more than 10 years now!! All bow down to the mighty laser diode which has made this hobby practical and affordable. The future indeed looks bright and coherent.
 

Trevor

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Does anyone else get mesmerized by new wavelengths? Or am I just weird?

-Tony
I think the second leads to our fascination with laser physics, which in turn leads to the first. :)

...and the first time I saw 473nm I was quite enthralled too.

-Trevor
 

awlego

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I too love the various colors/wavelengths! I like enough power to see the actual beam... but after that I could care less. I agree, colors > power.
 

icecruncher

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I worked for a video company from 1985 to 1995. First laser I played with was either a ruby rod ??? pointer with a xenon strobe or a hene that we sold to customers. (not sure, been a LONG time.)

I was thoroughly enthralled. But still now, more so for hene's than for diodes. It's the glow it puts out in addition to the beam that gets me.

It just screams power (first one was probably was a whopping 2mw pointer). I love helium neons for that reason. They have much more "presence" when you flip one on. You turn on a diode it's just a power source, powering a diode. With a hene you have an aura around it. You can SEE it working.

Good thing I don't have the money for argons and CO2s.
 

Solonar

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The first time I powered up my 445 was magical. Having had 632 and 543 for 20+ yrs, 650 and 532 didn't dazzle me near as much as the 445.

I first saw 614nm, 23 yrs ago, but at only .2mw it didn't really amaze me much.
 
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Yeah, Im a wavelength junkie myself, Ill buy HeNe tubes just to get 10nm +/- difference from your normal colors. Blues are my favorite, mainly 473nm, but 445nm is cool too. See 445nm was like a wet dream for me because I got a new color AND insane power in the same laser! I am after some stronger green ATM, just got a new PGL 532nm with a 450mW peak, but I still need stronger green, lol.
Next on my list will be either a higher powered green or 473nm blue, or a 612nm HeNe....
BTW, I have a yellow that can burn stuff :D
 
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Yeah, Im a wavelength junkie myself, Ill buy HeNe tubes just to get 10nm +/- difference from your normal colors. Blues are my favorite, mainly 473nm, but 445nm is cool too. See 445nm was like a wet dream for me because I got a new color AND insane power in the same laser! I am after some stronger green ATM, just got a new PGL 532nm with a 450mW peak, but I still need stronger green, lol.
Next on my list will be either a higher powered green or 473nm blue, or a 612nm HeNe....
BTW, I have a yellow that can burn stuff :D
What kind of yellow? What's the power?
 
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Where do you guys get your HeNe and Argon lasers? I've never owned a gas laser before and I'm kinda wary of eBay.

I'd love to have a gas laser anywhere between 445 and 532nm.

-Tony
 
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Ebay is usually fine for bare HeNe tubes, I have a bought alot from ebay, including power supplies with no problems. Just search HeNe laser on ebay. I dont know much about argons.
I am selling a HeNe tube now actually, havent made a thread yet though. Its 632.8nm light red about 1mW. Needs around 1.2-1.4kv @4mA to run.
 
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And today I have seen 445nm for the first time! I'm officially in the class IV club now.

I'd describe it as a very deep rich blue. If you look at it briefly or compare it to 405nm side by side it definitely looks "blue". But if you really stare and take in the color it does have a violet-ish taste to it. The dot itself looks very blue but there is a slightly violet haze around it.

If I compare it mentally to when I saw 473nm I can see that is it much richer and deeper. Comparing it to a blue LED, it does look like it's a lower wavelength than the median wavelength of the LED. I think I like 473nm better though. But 532nm will always be my favorite color.



-Tony
 
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Working at Laserglow means I've seen just about every common and uncommon wavelength. Of course I started out with 650nm red pointers, then when I got my WL Nexus a couple years ago the 532nm color just blew my mind. It was then that I got hooked. I went to school for photonics engineering and saw lots of gas laser wavelengths, like red HeNe at 633nm, orange HeNe at 612nm, pulsed ruby at 697nm and RGB He-Cad at 442nm, 538nm and 636nm. I bought a multiline Argon laser at home and couldn't get enough of the 488nm, 514nm, and the other lines in between. I then built my PHR blu-ray pointer at 405nm and bought a yellow HeNe at 594nm. That was all I saw until I got hired at Laserglow, and now I work with 473nm, 589nm, and the new 445nm on a regular basis. And all of this doesn't even count the various UV and IR lasers I've used!

I also found out that I can see 808nm. It's very dim, but a very, very deep red. I'll never get used to it's hazy glow.
 
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Working at Laserglow means I've seen just about every common and uncommon wavelength. Of course I started out with 650nm red pointers, then when I got my WL Nexus a couple years ago the 532nm color just blew my mind. It was then that I got hooked. I went to school for photonics engineering and saw lots of gas laser wavelengths, like red HeNe at 633nm, orange HeNe at 612nm, pulsed ruby at 697nm and RGB He-Cad at 442nm, 538nm and 636nm. I bought a multiline Argon laser at home and couldn't get enough of the 488nm, 514nm, and the other lines in between. I then built my PHR blu-ray pointer at 405nm and bought a yellow HeNe at 594nm. That was all I saw until I got hired at Laserglow, and now I work with 473nm, 589nm, and the new 445nm on a regular basis. And all of this doesn't even count the various UV and IR lasers I've used!

I also found out that I can see 808nm. It's very dim, but a very, very deep red. I'll never get used to it's hazy glow.
Does this mean laserglow is getting ready to release a 445?
 




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