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By Jon Singer on April 28, 2011
TJIIRRS: Number 21
A Look At Some Room-Pressure (TEA) Nitrogen Laser Designs
(04 April, 2011, ff)
!! WARNING !!
These lasers use high voltages, and capacitors that can store lethal amounts of energy. They put out invisible ultraviolet light that can damage your eyes and skin. It is important to take adequate safety precautions and use appropriate safety equipment with any laser; but it is crucially important with lasers that involve high voltages and/or produce invisible beams!
If you use an open spark gap, you need to be aware that it will destroy your hearing unless you use adequate ear protection. I strongly suggest a pair of earmuffs of the type used by people at rifle and pistol ranges, and it is a good idea to use earplugs in addition to the muffs. If you aren’t using adequate hearing protection, an open spark gap will also give you a nasty headache if you run it for a while.
The nitrogen laser was discovered in 1963. Originally, this laser was operated at moderate pressure, roughly a dozen to a few dozen Torr of nitrogen. Although it fairly quickly became clear that the addition of helium did not interfere, and