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By Jon Singer on May 15, 2011
Joss Institute Projects:
A Straightforward TEA Nitrogen Laser for the Do-It-Yourselfer
(A “My First Laser” Project
That Evolves into a Higher-Performance Laser)
[Started on April 8, 2011.]
This photo shows a fairly complex version of the laser in operation. (The initial version is simpler, and easier to construct.) The output is not visible to the eye; the fluorescent objects on the left and right indicate the presence of the beams: partly because there are no mirrors, this laser produces two.
Amateurs have been building lasers since fairly shortly after the laser was invented. Several laser projects even appeared in the late (and much lamented) Amateur Scientist column in Scientific American, which is now, fortunately, available in its entirety on CD-ROM. There are also various pages on the Web that provide information about DIY lasers of various sorts, and I provide links to some of them at the end of this page.
Unfortunately, I see quite a few videos on YouTube in which someone has bought a little laser module and hooked it up to a battery; they then proudly claim that they have built a laser. That’s pretty sad, especially when almost any of them actually » Read the rest