Home-Built Dye Laser

  
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Dye lasers are unique in that they are a class of lasers whose lasing medium is a liquid. Depending on the particular dye used, output can be at a wide range of wavelengths spanning the visible spectrum and beyond. Commercial dye lasers are often pumped by other lasers. For example, Rhodamine-B, a common dye used in dye lasers for the red region,
Home-Built Dye Laser - schematic

is often pumped with an argon ion laser at 514 nm for CW operation or a doubled YAG laser at 532 nm when pulsed. A suitable flashlamp can also be used as a pump source (but not just any old electronic flash - it needs to be very intense with a fast rise-time). As it turns out, this can easily be home-made. In fact, the overall construction of a flashlamp pumped dye laser is quite simple and straightforward, at least compared to nearly all of the other lasers discussed in this chapter. At most, a minimal vacuum system is required (for the home-made flashlamp) and there is absolutely no special glass work or need for exotic gases (though finding the highly pure dyes may require a little finger-work). The hazards are also relatively moderate - some of the organic dye materials are toxic and a high voltage power supply (low current but a BIG energy storage capacitor) is needed to fire the flashlamp. Laser output: The home-built Dye laser may be capable of producing a pulses of coherent light with enough energy to be a hazard to vision. Since there doesn`t seem to be any hard information on the actual power or energy obtainable with this or similar home-built laser designs, it is important to take precautions assuming a higher power until determined otherwise. Electrical: The power supplies can be lethal. Neon sign transformer based power supplies have enough voltage and current to stop a heart, The charged energy storage...



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