It is also possible to buy from private individuals on-line via classified ads in USENET newsgroups, other discussion groups and bulletin boards, auctions, and private Web sites.
Where actual manufacturer's model numbers are listed in the catalog or on the Web page, it is a good idea to confirm that the specifications actually do match. Inaccuracies in catalog entries are very common (like a HeNe laser listed as 5 mW that turns out to be only .5 mW, oops). Similarly, it would be disappointing to say the least if you blew a visible laser diode because the driver board actually required a regulated input when the listing claimed otherwise. :-(
Compare prices as well. There can be a wide variation in the price of the identical system or component among the various surplus houses or other suppliers. Haggling (at least with private individuals) may get you a better deal especially if you can identify lower prices elsewhere. More expensive items may be in better condition or newer, but not always - and it may not matter for your purposes. Consider using COD (Cash On Delivery) for payment if available (instead of a check, money order, or credit card) when dealing with a company for the first time or when in doubt about their integrity. For purchases from individuals, in addition to COD, a partial payment arrangement (e.g., 50% percent up front, 50% after receipt and inspection of merchandise) shouldn't scare off someone who has nothing to hide if they can verify *your* integrity. The latter shouldn't be a problem if you are a regular contributer to USENET newsgroups or frequent buyer and/or seller on eBay! :)
A commercial supplier should know how to pack and ship fragile merchandise to prevent damage. However, when ordering from a private individual or if you should need to send laser parts through the mail, or via UPS, Fed-X, Airborn, etc., packing should be done such that the box can withstand being drop-kicked from a 10 story building. Four inches of bubble-wrap or styrofoam peanuts on all sides should be considered a minimum with adequate protection between items as well. Insurance is also a worthwhile expense though successfully filing a claim could be an ordeal. Stickers marked 'Fragile' and 'Do Not Drop' may just make the package a more inviting target. :-)
Then, when you receive your merchandise, make sure you actually were sold what was expected. Confirm that it behaves as advertised. I have received HeNe laser power supplies marked with reversed polarity, for example. Honest (or otherwise) mistakes in packing and labelling do occur. And, of course, DO NOT open the inner packaging or attempt to power an item that was shipped in error as getting a refund may be much more difficult if the seller can honestly claim you damaged something.
I've only had to file an insurance claim once, with the U.S. Post Office (USPS). That was for a 15 to 20 mW HeNe laser head I had gotten along with a power supply on eBay. The bore of the laser head was fractured, most likely due to the package falling onto a concrete floor. (The power supply was not damaged.) From my perspective, the packing was not totally adequate but would have been fine for ordinary handling, even tossing it onto a pile of boxes. Thus, I would have not been terribly unhappy to have the the claim denied with an excuse of "inadequate packing". Then, I would go back to the seller and it is likely we would have come to some acceptable agreement. However, I filled out the claim form, obtained the insurance receipt and an itemized cost receipt from the seller, and included a description along with a diagram of the damage. I went into my local post office with these as well as the box and all packing material, the broken laser head partially disassembled so the damage could be easily seen, and a mockup of the power supply to show how everything was arranged. Since the claim was for only $50, they paid it on the spot. It turns out that $50 is the USPS limit for this - otherwise it would have had to go through the system, with an uncertain and no doubt long time to completion. (I did forgo reimbursement for part of the shipping cost but figured that a bird in the hand.....) Aside from just getting in under the instant payment limit in this case, one key to getting an insurance claim paid without hassle is no doubt having all the original packaging and complete documentation to present when filing the claim. And, with the value only being $50, I was dealing with a PO clerk, who had no vested interest in minimizing the cost to USPS or receiving bonuses based on the dollar value of rejected claims! :)
Also see the sections: Laser Sales and Service Companies and Laser and Optics Manufacturers and Suppliers for sources of mostly expensive laser products. However, some of those companies may have overstock and surplus sales as well as items like diode laser modules that are more reasonably priced.
Obviously, for a model that is still being sold, the manufacturer's literature or Web site will often provide enough info. User and service manuals may also be available as well as for older lasers that they still support. In addition, there may be many variations on a given model depending on the type of optics installed and possible tube replacement or upgrade.
Unfortunately, few manufacturers maintain detailed specifications or other information readily accessible (e.g., on-line) for older models. After all, why should they help you fix the laser that you've been happy with for the last 5 years for only $500 when they can sell you a shiny new and improved one for $20,000! :(
There are a variety of other places to look for specifications but their accuracy can vary based on the objectives of the provider (e.g., honesty, vested interests, optimism, technical knowledge).
Just keep in mind that these are items for sale so power output ratings must be taken with a sliver of optical glass (at least for lasers like ion and ruby/YAG where output power is adjustable).
Also see the section: Buyer Beware for Laser Purchases.
Here are some comments on laser power and other claims that you should be aware of before purchasing a used laser:
Note that there are some multi-mode (non-TEM00) HeNe tubes with wider bores and a different mirror curvature that produce up to perhaps twice the power output for a given tube length. However, with multiple axial modes, these are not suitable for many applications like interferometry and holography. They are also not very common compared to single-mode TEM00 HeNe tubes.
Also, the power output of non-red HeNe lasers - green (543.5 nm), yellow (593.9 nm), and orange (611.8 nm) - will be only about 1/10th to 1/4th that of an equivalent red (632.8 nm) one. Thus, a 20 inch green laser head is good for about 2 mW (compared to 8 to 15 mW for red) and a 10 inch head, perhaps only .2 mW (1 to 2 mW for red). As with normal red HeNe lasers, there is no way to boost power and the CDRH sticker rating is normally much greater than what is actually possible. However, the beam WILL look a lot brighter mW/mW compared to red due to the response curve of the eye, which can be misleading to sellers and buyers alike.
Note: Since the gain of these wavelengths is so low, they also have a shorter life and the chance of finding working surplus green or yellow HeNe lasers is much lower than for red. I would not recommend bidding on an eBay auction for one of these unless guaranteed to be working. The likelihood of the problem for an "unknown condition" green or yellow HeNe laser being just mirror alignment is small to none!
And, just because the male Alden connector of the laser head fits into the mating female socket of a randomly selected power supply doesn't mean they will work together! HeNe lasers of all sizes usually use the identical connectors! (Many people have been known to throw out perfectly good HeNe tubes and heads if they failed to start or operated erratically when in fact, power supply compatibility was the real problem!) On the other hand, don't assume compatibility just because the laser tube or head and power supply were supposed to work together - many of these same people have no idea what this means and make the assumption that because the laser worked once (if that), it would be fine forever. The life of the HeNe tube and/or power supply may be shortened and/or power output may suffer.
Large-frame HeNe lasers like the Siemens LGK-7676/L/S and functionally similar Spectra-Physics 107/907 which show up on eBay and from surplus dealers either untested or without measured output power are probably high mileage tubes which may run but will not meet new power specs. However, they are very well built, really nice to play with, and probably have a lot of life left. Just don't expect good as new performance from them. Around 50 percent of rated power is typical.
Finally, HeNe laser heads in like-new condition that show up as surplus or on eBay without end-caps (output aperture and Alden connectors) were probably manufacturing rejects pulled from the line before being completed since they didn't meet spec in any of a number of areas including: output power value, stability with warmup, mode cycling percentage, polarization ratio, or other aspects of beam quality. Thus, what you end up with may have undisclosed problems. This is also likely true of bare HeNe tubes (often without any identifying labels) - especially 'other color' (than red) types in pristine condition but where the locking collars or mirror adjusters are loose and the seller suggests that "alignment is all that is needed to make them lase and then you will have gotten a great deal". Note that it is likely that some of these have found their way to resale via less than legitimate channels - especially if the serial numbers have been removed! Even if they do work or can be made to work, items like this have trouble written all over them. And, don't believe claims that tubes were "purchased new and used very little" if they don't have any labels. A tube sold as a tube (not part of a laser head) will almost certainly be labeled with model and serial numbers at the very least, usually with a sticker on the side. Similarly, a laser head should also have a similar label. It's the law in both cases. And, even the manufacturer can't tell specs by inspection! :)
Having said all this, a used or off-spec HeNe laser may still be just fine for many purposes as long as you understand exactly what you are getting. For more information on HeNe laser sizes and power output, see the sections starting with: Internal Mirror HeNe Tubes up to 35 mW - Red and Other Colors. And some have very interesting and unusual behavior. :)
Also see the section: Expected Output Power and Used Ion Lasers.
I would recommend against even considering the purchase of high power diode lasers or laser diodes from eBay or other similar source unless they are supplied in their original sealed packaging, there is a no questions asked money back warranty that is enforceable, or you know the seller to be honest and aware of proper handling procedures for laser diodes. If you insist on bidding on one of these, compare the any specifications provided by the seller with the device's datasheet if possible. Sometimes, very professional looking charts will be included on the auction page without mentioning that they show a weak or damaged diode.
Note that there are several sellers offering what they claim to be high power laser diodes suitable for DPSS laser pumping where a wavelength in the 808 to 810 nm range is needed. However, many of the surplus high power laser diodes originate from graphics arts equipment like platesetters which almost invariably use 820 to 880 nm diodes, most likely for cost reasons. So, an unscrupulous or unknowledgeable seller may be passing these off as DPSS laser pump diodes when in fact they are pretty worthless for that application. In fact, the only hobbyist use I know for these would be as burning lasers since the beam can be focused very nicely to carve wood or plastic or an unsuspecting finger. :( :) If what you're interested in is a diode pump for a DPSS laser, make sure the seller guarantees the wavelength to be close enough to 808 nm that modest cooling or heating (+10/-15 °C from 25 °C based on 0.3 nm/°C can tune the wavelength to the optimum value for peak absorption in the lasing crystal (usually, Nd:YVO4 or Nd:YAG). Just showing a photo of one of these diodes producing green light from a DPSS laser crystal is not a sufficient test as there may be some output but it will be only a small fraction of what's possible with a diode emitting at 808 nm. Some sellers claim to have gotten significant green power from a DPSS laser crystal using diodes that look identical. My guess is that either (1) they were smoke'n sump'n or (2) the particular diode they were using was actually around 808 nm but that's no guarantee that the one in the auction will be as well.
Where an entire LPSS laser head or complete laser is offered, the only way to really know what is can do is to check the manufacturer's specs or test it. In most cases, the seller isn't able or won't do this so you're on your own.
Furthermore, as with other types of lasers, the CDRH rating is almost always much higher than anything that can be achieved and sustained in practice. For example, Coherent C315M-100 lasers have a "300 mW max" rating and Uniphase uGreen 4601-10, -20, and -50 lasers have a "125 mW" max rating. Realistic maximum output power is not likely to exceed 1/3 to 1/2 of either of these and may be much less in the case of the lower power uGreen lasers.
For more info, also see the section: About Laser Power Ratings.
Attempt to determine what is actually possible - don't take the seller's word for it. You can't confirm actual output over the Internet or from a catalog but at least you will know that you aren't likely to get 5 mW from a HeNe laser head only 10 inches long, 300 mW from a surplus ALC-60X argon ion laser without a meltdown, or 125 mW from *any* Uniphase uGreen laser!
Many people also claim that the lasers they are selling have low hours or were only used briefly a few times ("only driven by a little old lady to church on Sundays."). In most cases they actually don't have a clue and such claims carry about as much weight as the campaign promises of politicians. :) Unless the laser was originally purchased new, they (or you) may have no real way of determining how much it was used. For HeNe lasers, this may not matter that much since if the laser works when you get it, it will probably continue to work for as many hours as you are likely to care. But for ion lasers, you could be getting a low pressure tube that is on its way out. While there is usually an elapsed time meter present on ion lasers it isn't a reliable indication of past use as the tube may have been swapped or a mechanical meter may have recycled back to zero (more than once!) and like automobile odometers, can be reset. With other types of lasers, it may be even more difficult to determine the amount of use. High power diode lasers and diode pumped solid state lasers may have a life expentancy of only a few thousand hours to begin with and the one being offered may be near the end of useful life. And, if abused at any time, all bets are off and it may not even make a good boat anchor!
Finally, here are some other common statements paraphrased from various actual eBay offerings:
Whether buying from a surplus outfit or a private individual, don't expect to get a new laser for bargain basement prices. The well known laser surplus places may buy up reject inventory from major laser companies like Melles Griot - laser heads and tubes that didn't meet spec even when new. Unless the item is clearly stated to be new and meets new specs, this can probably be assumed. If the model number is given, sometimes it's possible to tell a reject. For example, with Melles Griot lasers, a '-Q' suffix (e.g., 05-LYR-171-Q) means that the yellow HeNe laser head (in this case) didn't meet specs but still lases somewhat - its performance wasn't so terrible that it went to the crusher. (I have one that varies between 1.5 and 2.5 mW of yellow on a several minute cycle due to 3.391 um IR mode competition. It's still a very nice laser but not useful for many applications.) However, even if you know what to look for, the Q designation may not make it to sticker attached to the laser. With private sales there are several more levels of unknowns unless the laser was purchased new (unlikely!), the seller worked for a company that purchased it new before the project was cancelled, or the pedigree is completely known. :)
And the most amusing listings I've seen on eBay lately go something like: "Argon-Ion Laser Tube Air-Cooled Add Gas and Go". Right, like all that is needed is a bottle of argon gas from your friendly welding supplier. Not! Even if these are usable at all (they could very well be rejects), just a bit more is needed. See the chapters on argon/krypton ion lasers before you end up with an expensive paperweight.
The only real way to protect yourself from deceptive or exaggerated advertising claims is a combination of getting the detailed specifications, buying from a reputable supplier, and obtaining a purchase arrangement that includes a binding money back guarantee in writing or some other way of cancelling a deal for merchandise that turns out not to be or do what was claimed!
Of course, once you receive your laser, the only way to be truly sure of the output power is with a laser power meter or by comparison with another laser of known performance.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You aren't likely to be the only one to have 'discovered' a bargain - if no one else has bid it up at eBay there is probably a very good reason!
Also see the section: Equivalent Brightness Ratings and Laser Pointer Visibility since this is another area where the real and the imaginary are often jumbled together!
Having said all that, I did a very scientific test with one of my dead Spectra-Physics 084-1 barcode scanner HeNe laser tubes from which I had already cannibalized the mirrors. This is about 10 inches long with a spider supporting the bore (the most fragile part in an HeNe tube subjected to mechanical shock) at about the halfway point. I used about 2 to 3 inches of bubble wrap all around and stuffed it into a worn cardboard box about 5" x 6" x 13" 'sealed' with an elastic band. I then abused this package to every way possible short of using a nuclear bomb (which were temporarily out of stock): Tossing it across the room, dropping on various sides and corners with and without spin from 7 feet onto a concrete floor, kicking it through the uprights, sitting on it, etc. The mirrorless tube survived just fine - the bore was well supported. What does this mean? Probably not much except for this particular model HeNe tube and it is still possible that the bore shifted slightly within the spider. There is no way to know that for sure without testing on a live tube (but it can also generally be corrected). However, in all likelihood, the typical HeNe tube would work just fine if packed in this manner (or better) even after all the abuse OOPS could dish out. :) Of course, an entire external mirror laser would likely be a much different story, especially one with a long plasma tube. And even if the glass parts survive, circuit boards and structural components can fracture from relatively low G forces if not well supported (due to poor design).
Of course, the general rule is: If you ship a dead laser wrapped only in a single layer of brown paper, it will arrive in perfect condition. But, if you ship a functional laser in 6 inches of foam inside a box inside 12 inches of bubble wrap inside another box inside a crate, it will arrive in a thousand pieces. :) And if you then try to file a claim, it is possible for the carrier to insist that no amount of packing material is adequate.
And as far as plastering the package with "Fragile" and "Handle with Care" stickers, I'm not convinced that there is any correlation between the number, size, and color of the stickers and survival rate. There may even be a negative correlation - such markings simply make your package a more inviting target. Even putting a high value on a package - not to be able to claim it if there is damage but simply to make the shipper take more care in handling - may not work. So, as noted above, the only way to have reasonable assurance of a laser or any delicate or fragile equipment arriving intact is to pack so that it can be dropped from a 747 at cruising altitude without a parachute and not be damaged.
The only relatively common similar item I know of that is more fragile than a laser tube is a rotating anode X-ray tube. (This is what X-ray types call the "insert", not the entire X-ray head.) With these, the heavy anode/motor assembly - which may weigh several pounds - is attached to the glass envelope only at one end with most of the mass at the unsupported end. So, even though the glass is rather thick and would normally survive some trauma, a relatively modest physical shock will cause the tube to fracture. To have any chance of survival during shipping, the anode/motor assembly must either be secured to a rigid structure as it is when mounted in the X-ray head assembly so that it can't flex with respect to the glass envelope, or the entire glass tube must be packed with something like 12 inches of soft foam rubber all around to minimize the g-forces when the box drops onto the sorting conveyer from 10 feet up. And even this is no guarantee.
Note that no matter how well packed a laser is, shipping companies may give you a hard time about insurance claims and point to some disclaimer in their contract printed in 2 point type that disallows any coverage for lasers and other scientific apparatus. Some don't even consider the manufacturer's original packaging to be adequate even for computer monitors, let alone lasers. Of course, the seller may have simply sent you a broken laser. :(
Here are some somewhat humorous but all too true guidelines. This was originally posted to the USENET newsgroup alt.lasers for a specific shipping company, whose name I have deleted.
(Based on a posting from: NiteliteProducts.com (email@example.com).)
Many years of experience has shown that insurance claims through shipping companies are next to impossible to recover. Their reasons are as follows and they will deny claims in the following order:
In fact, I deal with a company that ships metrology lasers all over the World and they never insure with the shipping company for more than the minimum. I do not believe they even self insure. But, everything is very well packed and no credible amount of abuse is likely to cause damage. These are small lasers so it's not that difficult.
(From: Steve Roberts.)
I carefully build crates around my lasers, and insulate the lasers from shock with spray in foam that self hardens. Its a wonder how two of my crates have been reduced to kindling lately. One arrived sans crate! A third CO2 tube marked for special fragile handling by UPS (often pronounced OOOPS) didn't make it, it's been reduced to scrap glass. Same for an incredibly well packed 50 mW HeNe laser last year. I specified and paid for FedEx, but the seller used OOOOPPS to pocket the difference and ended up paying for my dead laser as a reward.
As for the broken CO2 tube, I'm driving 250 miles each way to replace it for the customer to keep my sanity, and my truck has a good suspension. According to a local driver, all OOOOOPPPSS packages drop 6 feet into a rotary sorting bin. I've had a few customers spec OOOOOPPPPSSS lately because FedEx was too expensive. Never again!
I've had good luck with FedEx, only one package ever got smashed. Delta Air Freight also has done a decent job for me.
For small air-cooled lasers I've used the U.S. Postal Service, sent 'registered', so it's hand carried and locked up each night in a safe. I Had remarkably good results with the snail mail folks - slow, but it gets there in one piece. A little pricey, but competitive.
I recently had a problem with UPS breaking something on me, and although they paid the insurance claim, I looked to ways to better package fragile items. I have come up with the following: Wrap the breakable in a few layers of small bubble bubble wrap. This provides a layer of cushioning for the object. Then use self expanding polyurathane foam just like the stuff used in foam-in-place machines, but this stuff is the 2 pounds/cubic foot foam used in building boats. Two gallons of the stuff runs about $40 and is enough to fill a 55 gallon drum about 2/3rds full. The cool thing about this stuff is that if you use it to ship your items, they truly become indestructable. Use cheap industrial type trash bags to keep the foam from getting on the cardboard box and what you are shipping. Make a 'seat' of foam to lay the breakable in, then fill in the box with another trash bag and then foam fill, so that the box is totally full of foam. Make sure you use at least 4 to 6 inches of foam on all sides. So long as you start out with a cardboard box of decent integrity, you now have an in-destructable shipping box. I recently shipped a large X-ray tube in a double corrugated cardboard box that was 18 x 18 x 18 inches. At first the UPS manager didn't want to accept the shipment saying it wasn't properly packed for a fragile item. I then knocked the box off of the counter it sat on, stood on it, and hopped up and down a few times. Needless to say a proper application of marine foam is super strong!!! It still has some give to it, so if a box was dropped on a corner it would dent a small bit (you want some degree of deformation, otherwise you don't have any shock absorption effect going on!), but it makes your box virtually drop and or crush proof. I use the stuff to ship ANYTHING thats fragile now.
(From: Laserlover (firstname.lastname@example.org).)
I use MSAS Cargo International and add "All Perils" Insurance coverage to cover my butt and packing has to be up to their standards. All the other carriers like Fed-Ex, DHL, Purolator and the infamous UPS (OOOPSsss) will only pay for loss (mechanical damage) - and forget about anything made of glass or ceramic. MSAS Cargo International won't try to screw you as long as you can prove value of goods with quote from the original company or second source in the industry. Also take pictures before and after packing to prove integrity of goods being shipped.
The following definitely belongs in the humor department though it would be effective.
(From: Rob (email@example.com).)
Ship all lasers in coffins or caskets!
I can see it now. When picking up the package from the airport, opening it up for inspection just to see the looks in their face as you open it on their dock. Shippers may feel sorry for you, and airlines may give you a free ticket to fly along with it, or at least priority seating.
Didn't they do this during Prohibition? Well, at least in the Jack Lemon movie "Some Like It Hot". :) --- Sam.
(The following approach was inspired by a laser packed and shipped to me by George Sohnle. I have added to it slightly.)
Use a heavy cardboard shipping box with minimum dimensions of 14x15x50 inches. This is still within the maximum dimensions (girth plus length, or 108 inches in this case) of most carriers, for Ground shipping at least.
For the laser I received, the box and most of the packing is in a condition that can be reused. So, if and when I ship this laser, I'll probably factor a deposit (like $50) into the shipping cost, so the buyer can send it back to me.
(From: Someone who has had bad luck with laser shipping.)
The box was at least 6" larger or more on each side of the laser head. I still have the box. The box is perfect and still is.
I can only figure it took a nasty drop by the shipping company. I was at my local hub and I got to witness something that made me about pass out.
I saw 3 huge boxes come out of the truck and go onto a roll table. Then came a little box. Then about 2 minutes later, 4 large boxes. When the 4 large boxes pushed the little one into the 3 large boxes and stop, the little box in the middle just made a sound like a glass bottle got crushed.
You could see that it was crushed to 1/3rd its size. I'm like that's gone. They still put it in the truck to get shipped out.
So after seeing that I can only imagine what my poor laser went though.
That's why I phone to pick items up. As I told you I know our local hub manager and when I know a package is coming in. I phone him, he will set it aside so I can pick it up. Only if I am unable to pick it up will I allow it to be delivered. Then it bounces on the truck until 4 to 4:30 PM when they are in my area.
I wonder about that. The SP-127 box wasn't damaged at all? The tube is rather well mounted assuming it's original SP construction with all screws installed and tightened. It should be fastened at both ends, two straps for the large cathode bulb, and the two bore straightening assemblies. So, if the box is filled with packing peanuts or foam and the laws of physics still apply inside the box, it would take a really phenomenal shock to break the tube.
At the very least, you will need to provide an invoice to the shipper (e.g., USPS, UPS) listing the item(s) to be shipped and the declared value. I do avoid using the word "laser" so as not to risk an overzealous or just greedy inspector from attempting to dig out an overdriven laser pointer. So far, I've shipped a variety of (non-weapon) lasers overseas without incident. For small HeNe lasers, I just put "barcode scanner tube" (for the SP-084) and "particle scanner tube" (for the one-Brewster Climet 9048) with a declared value of $0.00 on the invoice and on the Postal form (for total weight under 4 pounds), marked them as a "gift". These weigh next to nothing so they don't attract the attention of overworked customs inspectors and there's nothing illegal about shipping these lasers to most foreign countries anyhow. Putting some small value other than $0 may attract even less attention though.
For larger HeNe lasers or DPSS lasers where insurance is desired, the value for Customs can't be less than the insured value. So the buyer may need to pay duty or VAT or whatever, but that's still worthwhile given the overall discount compared to new! However, as noted elsewhere, getting major insurance claims honored for damage may be impossible, so packing must be even better for international shipments. And should the package be lost, you'll need proof of value to have any chance of getting it paid. I've yet to have anything actually lost, though USPS did "misplace" a large HeNe laser for a month or two. It somehow ended up in U.S. Customs, when it should have been going out of the USA. Then, just as I was about to file a claim, it mysteriously got moving in the proper direction!
Some additional comments follow.
(From: Mike Harrison (firstname.lastname@example.org).)
For the UK in particular, anything which has a declared value below UKP18 (about US$25) as merchandise, or UKP36 ($50) as a gift will not be charged import duty, so putting these values will not cause a problem, and might look more credible. Above this there is duty (typically 17.5% VAT) on the goods value PLUS the postage charge, then another UKP3.75 'handling charge', and the package can be delayed by 1 to 2 weeks."
(Portions from Steve Roberts.)
On a simple unstabilized cheap HeNe laser there are no export controls as far as I know. I have never heard of any regulations on anything that did not have strategic importance, especially if you're only shipping one. Were it a dozen then I would be concerned. Several U.S. HeNe laser manufacturers have sold entire state of the art HeNe production lines to China. Don't loose any sleep over it.
Besides, it's importing things where customs is concerned with lasers. And unless it deals with drugs, murder, or white collar crime, the U.S. is never going to extradite you. :-)
However, for high power diodes lasers or parts of lasers, green YAGs, lasers over a few watts, lasers that can be used as weapons, lasers that stabilize themselves, lasers that can blind pilots, LIDAR, something like research picosecond or Terawatt lasers, and lasers that can be used for semiconductor or uranium processing, one has to be careful. These need approval from the State Department. In addition, shipping to laser or other high tech equipment or parts to certain specific countries will raise red flags with the Government so you will have to do your homework to avoid a serious hassle or worse.
(From: John_LeB (email@example.com).)
All proscribed technology is covered under the Bureau of Export Administration. The Export Administration Database provides links to the files listing various technologies.
There is a PDF file which you can find that will list proscribed technology. There are links on the web site to regional and national phone numbers where reps will talk with you. You want category 6 - Sensors and Lasers.
I went through all of this to get my crypto software licensed for export and got an exemption on it. So it is relatively easy to navigate once you get to the page and find the PDF files with the info.
To export out of the USA, you would just need either an export license or an exemption. Then in the packaging you would need to put the export license number on the packing list, if I'm not mistaken.
The listings below are mostly in alphabetical order, domestic (US) followed by foreign. Their position or even their existence on these lists does not imply anything about my impression of their quality, reliability, or integrity. However, there may be additional specific comments included in the description.
They still offer nice thick free catalogs which are a must-have. All ordering is via the Web, telephone, or snail mail.
Offerings include new, used, or surplus lasers and laser components. Quality and prices may vary quite widely - check them out before ordering!
This site is one of the best kept secrets of the Web. It is definitely worth checking out since there is so much there!
Check out their Blue Light Argon Lasers for low cost Cyonics/Uniphase systems and laser heads. They may still have a limited quantity of very inexpensive ($50) argon ion laser heads that could be weak, in need of mirror alignment, or near end-of-life but are still good for things like ion laser power supply testing. Some may be repairable. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One person who bought a red laser rated at 5 mW said that what they received was an apparently new in box, bare HeNe laser tube made by "The Shanghai Institute of Laser Technology" (S.I.L), whoever they are. Though marked 8.5 mW, it probably didn't output more than 5 mW. He recommends against buying Bull's supposedly compatible power supply as it may fry if used with tubes larger than about 2 mW (as he found out after 10 minutes). (However, I didn't see any HeNe laser power supplies on their lasers page.)
They also have a separate optics catalog (Stock number 24799) which you can also request via email (but they may want to charge you a whole $1 for it if you don't order something at the same time. Hint: Commenting that "Sean is a cool guy" will almost assure a free catalog!). This looks like a very nice source listing hundreds of inexpensive (mostly glass) lenses, mirrors, and other optical items.
Check out the on-line links to Silicon Valley Surplus Sources as well.
This company is of the 'I thought I died and went to heaven' variety (whether you believe in that stuff or not) if you are need specialized high voltage rectifiers for your HeNe, CO2, or other laser or general high voltage power supply projects. They have an on-line catalog with complete specifications and offer to send a print catalog as well as free samples. I don't know to what extent this includes free samples to hobbyist types who may not be ordering $1,000,000 worth of merchandise. They say: "qualified OEMs only" which suggests not but it may still be worth a try if you only need a little diode or two, or will then need to buy 100 more. You can never tell when a company will consider the possibility of a referral or future loyal customer to be worth a modest initial investment! However, please don't abuse the privilege if they are accommodating.
This Web-only store appears to have the perfect selection of high voltage components for HeNe laser power supplies and other HV projects including capacitors, diodes, and even wire, and at very reasonable prices. I wish they had been around when I was building his sort high voltage electronics in the past and had to recycle parts from other equipment! :)
The following companies carry a wide selection of semiconductors (including many Japanese types) and in addition have replacement parts for microwave ovens (and other consumer electronic equipment) which may be useful for some laser power supply designs:
(From: Kim Clay (email@example.com).)
I live in West Palm Beach, Florida & there aren't any surplus or discount electronics places close but I have found some nice sources on the web. Like
(To get an idea of what Kim has been putting together, see the section: Kim's Mid-Size HeNe Laser Power Supply (KC-HL1). --- sam)
This place is definitely worth an 'at least check out their Web site'. Much weird stuff including specialized parts (as well as plans and complete kits) needed for the laser and other projects in the two Iannini books  and  (though cheaper alternatives using readily available components may be available). Laser related products include HeNe, diode, and DPSS (green) lasers; laser pointers, mini-light shows, laser listeners and communicators; CO2 and YAG lasers; and some parts like power supplies, rods, and flashlamps. Many are available as plans, kits, or completely assembled and tested systems.
Most of the products they offer in areas like lasers and high voltage seem reasonable (though claims may sometimes be shall we say, a bit optimistic), if you are interested in something in one of their more way-out departments like anti-gravity, realize that the laws of physics haven't been repealed on their site and you shouldn't be disappointed when the item that arrives isn't a fully operational "Back to the Future" hoverboard. :)
Note: Plans and Kits has gone through some twists and turns over the laser year or so including legal proceedings likely due to questionable dealings or something worse. I do not have any details. Much of what they sell is of limited value at best and should probably be avoided like a laser beam to the eye. This place has gotten multiple thumbs-down in its former life as Unlimited Underground Electronics (UUE) for exaggerated, way out, conflicting, unrealistic claims (I'm being generous), and shoddy merchandise - everything else is unknown. However, in all fairness, there have been satisfied and repeat customers as well, perhaps those who are knowledgeable about what they are buying and can inspect (and possibly select) the merchandise in person. This site is amusing to visit but anyone who knows more about technology than a ripe carrot will realize that much of the blurb on their site has to be bogus.
There is also a chatroom and bulletin board/discussion group on the site which might provide some additional amusement (for a few milliseconds, anyhow) especially as some technically knowledgeable people attempt to clarify, correct, or dispute some of the claims. If you think about buying anything from them, realize that what arrives may bear little resemblance in appearance, function, or performance to what is described on their Web site. Terms like "Ready to go" and "Perfectly matched" may have different meanings that what you might assume. :)
PKU also offers a set of plans for using a HeNe laser tube to build a high power mercury vapor ion laser. I assume this is supposed to be similar to the one described in the chapter: Home-Built Helium-Mercury (HeHg) and Other He-Metal-Vapor Lasers and represents a tantalizing shortcut if it can be made to work. See the section: Using a HeNe Laser Tube in a Home-Built HeHg Laser? where I speculate on how such a conversion might be done.
This may also mean high prices for many items (at least compared to what you might have expected) so you should be sitting down when you are browsing the catalogs or Web sites of these suppliers. However, there are exceptions.
Lasers and optics as well as many bargain priced new and surplus scientific items. The new research quality items are expensive but there are many reasonably prices parts, kits, and just plain old fascinating stuff.
Their catalog is a must even if you never intend to purchase anything. I remember fascinating trips to their retail store stocked with bin-upon-bin of interesting and unusual (and sometimes unidentifiable!) optical and electronic items. I do not know what it is like these days.
Other possibilities: Companies clearing their 'dead storage' or excess inventory, or going out of business, and auctions and liquidation sales.
You can often find small lasers and laser parts at high tech flea markets and hamfests. Sometimes intact research lasers will show up there but often they are so old that the tube is gassy and usless (unless you are into regassing).
CAUTION: What you may end up with is/are one or more BIG lasers in unknown condition. These are extremely dangerous on all fronts - especially electrically and should they work, from the high power beam! You MUST do this in a responsible manner both for your own and others' safety as well as to not abuse the fabulous opportunity that a successful outcome can provide.
Old lasers may be available from biomedical sources like hospitals and clinics. These places buy the latest, work them to death or until something better comes along, then puts them in storage and eventually sells or gives them away for scrap. If you do find an offer of one or more of these, you will need transportation (e.g., a truck or large minivan - they won't fit in the back of a Honda Civic!) and some buddies to do the heavy lifting.
WARNING: Where the laser came from a hospital or clinic, you must assume that the business end at least (the articulated beam guide) has probably been in all sorts of places you wouldn't want to go and may have collected all sorts of stuff you wouldn't normally eat or use for bathing! Yes, they were supposed to have been sterilized but given that the laser may have been put into storage because it failed, such procedures may not have been performed. You MUST clean the entire thing except for the actual interior of the laser head with a strong disinfectant as noted below. (Perhaps you can pick up a couple gallons of hospital-grade disinfectant at the same time - one swipe of alcohol may not be enough!) Take care - there is going to be sharp sheet metal and other hazards - open wounds and biomedical waste are not a happy combination!
The most likely type of lasers available from biomedical sources will be old but could very likely be serviceable or repairable. Most common types are CO2, but you may end up with a high power YAG or Ar/Kr ion type. For the latter, it is quite likely you won't have the power feed required to use them without serious effort and expense as high current 230 VAC three-phase is often what is used. The 'smaller' CO2 units will run on standard 115 VAC, 15 or 20 A.
Thus, think several times before actually taking these recommendations seriously - you could end up with a major headache or a major bonanza depending on your negotiating skills, technological abilities, and LUCK!
The following approach has worked for me quite a few times. Mostly you get dead units but to quote Clara Peller: "Partz is partz".
Call your local hospitals. Tell them you're looking for old lasers for parts and make sure they understand you're going to demedicalize them, Ask for Biomedical or Clinical Engineering - get past the secretary and and talk to a tech or engineer. Avoid talking to accounting or materials management if you can, they want money. Make sure you tell them your end use is a home made engraver. If they are reluctant to let you have it, offer to smash the delivery arm in front of them with a sledge. These people are used to getting such calls, mostly from companies that recycle medical gear.
Don't be shocked if you hear: "Be here in 15 minutes with a truck and some people to help you load it". Ask for units by Coherent or Sharplan. You WILL need the pickup truck or a decent sized minivan. Take a complete set of allen wrenches including the larger sized ones and tools/socket set to partially dismantle it. Expect to be told the unit will be free or low cost - you're helping them dispose of a 200 to 500 pound monster. Use gloves when you take it apart as most CO2s are used for gynecology. When you get it home, scrub it down with alcohol except for the tube assembly. Take plastic sheets, tarps, rope and trash bags.
If they don't have one, still ask for their address to send them a letter or business card so they can reach you in the future. If they ask you to take a skid or two of other scrap do so. Also ask if they know of other biomed guys with units laying around.
Hospitals would be the first and best place to look. Although nice letters may be the formal polite way of locating equipment, all the people I know who have had any luck getting any lasers from any hospital did so by wearing out their telephone. It seems as though the fellow responsible for getting rid of the hospital's equipment is always a busy harried individual who is willing to let an average Joe get a laser because he offers to make it as painless for the hospital person as possible. In other words, he doesn't have to make any telephone calls, you just show up with a truck and the manpower to load something he considers garbage. Also keep in mind that you may talk to 10 people at the same institution before you actually talk to the fellow responsible for their surplus equipment. It's much easier to get passed down the chain if someone you call can simply tell you over the phone "you need to talk to Harry at ext. 234" than if you send a letter that places the responsibility onto someone else to actually see to it that your letter gets to the right hands, possibly several someone elses. Other sources of lasers might include local businesses (i.e., read the Sunday want-ads for advertisements of auctions, especially if you have any aerospace or other high tech industry in town. You may also want to try large print shops, occasionally universities will excess equipment, and naturally there is always the Net - eBay and other places are gold mines for used equipment but you need to spend the hours in front of the computer screen to find them and you better know the value of what you bid on so you don't get the short end of a bad deal.
(From: Robin S. (firstname.lastname@example.org).)
I work in the machine shop at a cancer research hospital. There's a huge 4.5 W argon/2.5 W dye laser in the back they didn't even know WAS a laser. You may want to find the machine shop/work shop if you go hunting. Personally, I'd go in person. Some people may be inclined to help you, and some may be too lazy (the phone makes it very easy to be lazy). Be VERY nice, and food ALWAYS helps! Bring a 6 pack of doughnuts or something. You may not get anything, but they'll be willing to talk to you.
However, you will probably not get the power supply since the they are usually not replaced when the laser heads die. Therefore, before pursuing this, realize that a power supply will have to be bought ($300 to $1,000 or more) or built. The latter is a non-trivial undertaking. See the chapters starting with: Argon and Krypton Ion Lasers.
(From: Flavio Spedalieri (email@example.com).)
I have managed to get two air-cooled argon lasers free of charge. Argon laser are used in industrial high-speed printing machines. If you contact your local companies, you may get lucky.
Some companies that deal with these types of printers are Xerox, Dainippon Screens, and Ricoh.
My lasers came from Dainippon Screens. The lasers worked well. One of the lasers is multi-lined. The company was throwing them out, but as I called in earlier, and left my name, they actually thought to call me back.
If you speak with the technical repairs department, and mention that you are requiring a laser to teach a bunch of students, then you could be lucky.
Please be aware that in these printers, the lasers are usually tuned to 488 nm (bright blue). Some laser heads may have a line tuning prism on the back and these are tunable to any of the 8 or so argon ion wavelengths.
The following alternatives are most often offers from private individuals (though not always - buyer beware) and are in addition to the zillions of companies that have Web sites. There are varying amounts of risk in not dealing with a well known reputable company. Prices can vary from dirt cheap to way out of line. So you MUST know the value of what is being offered. Unlike companies which compete with each other, some of these people may start with a very high price and hope there is a least one sucker out there!
In addition to honesty and ethics concerns, once you settle on a price, make sure the seller knows how to pack your (often fragile) equipment properly. It is amazing how much abuse can be inflicted by package shipping companies like UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. If it costs you a couple of dollars extra for a larger box and more bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts - and shipping insurance - it may be well worth it!
Offers of inexpensive lasers, laser components, and other related items may also appear from time-to-time on various other discussion groups. See the sections: Laser (Email) Listservers and Laser Discussion Groups and Technical Forums. One that sees a fair amount of this type of traffic is:
Here are some specific laser related searches to get you started. These are designed to return serious laser related items without being inundated with laser pointers, laser printers, laserdiscs, laser engravings, and countless other common things with the word laser in their description:
Note: Since the eBay search engine appears to sometimes distinguish between singular and plural, if you don't include both (as I've done above with laser and lasers), you might miss that opportunity of a lifetime to buy 1,326 argon lasers. :) Also, for some of these, it may be useful to cut and paste the search string directly into the eBay Smart Search Page to modify or add options or exclusions which can cut down on the amount of unwanted garbage returned by these searches.
And, for the home-built laser enthusiast:
You can of course customize your own search strings. For example, if you are interested in pulsed lasers, you may want to enter: "flashlamp,flash lamp,flashlamps,flash lamps,arclamp,arclamps,arc lamp,arc lamps" in the eBay search box which will gather just about anything in the lamp department. :) One can spend a semi-infinite amount of time searching the eBay site.
[Begin Rant 1]
[Rant 1 cancelled]
And on searches in general:
[Begin Rant 2]
Since when does technology get worse? Searches used to allow the "*" wildcard as an option, but now throw it in all the time even when not wanted. In the past, if a search term was "ABCD", it only found matches where an entire word was ABCD. Now, any character string that includes ABCD in it will be a match. So searches return gobs of totally unrelated useless listings, often more than 10 times that of the good stuff. I'd like to believe this is just computer programmers with too much time on their hands who have to justify their existence by constantly changing everything. But I suspect it to be something more insidious like eBay attempting to boost sales by forcing users to wade through view lots of auction listings they would normally not see, even if the correlation between what they want and what they get is 0.000000. :)
[End Rant 2]
Now, back to buying and selling. :)
Make sure you know the true market value of the merchandise and limit your maximum bid to what you consider it to be worth TO YOU! Avoid getting carried away in the excitement of last minute bidding - there will be other opportunities. Also, where the seller is actually a surplus dealer or other commercial enterprise, check out their Web site or catalog - the same item(s) may be listed there for a fixed price which may be much lower than where the bidding ends up. I've seen eBay auctions where the identical item went for more than twice the catalog price! In addition, depending on the day of the month, phase of the moon, or a particular tea leaf reading, there may be a variation in final bid price for similar items by a factor of 5 times or more - and the lower priced one(s) might even be in better condition or newer! As an example, in one case, I picked up something for $16.50 while the next week, an older and less desirable version of the same model went for $117.00! So, don't go overboard bidding up an item thinking another one won't show up. It will - for lasers and scientific stuff at least - maybe not an original Rembrandt. :)
Some more considerations:
There is no hard cutoff as to what to consider an acceptable feedback rating. If I see something of around 99.5 percent positive or above, I consider the seller reliable. But pay attention to the balance between feedback as a seller (what is probably important to you) and feedback as a buyer. In addition, look at the feedback as a function of time. If recent feedback - say in the last year - is entirely satisfactory, then transgressions in the past can be given less weight. And, of course, also make the evaluation based on the item in question. If a hundred other sellers have something similar, then there's no need to take a risk on a seller with a poor feedback rating. But the item is one of a kind, then it may be worth the risk. Just take all precautions possible to protect yourself should the transaction turn sour.
Unfortunately, the entire feedback system stinks and is much less useful than no doubt its original intent. Some certifiably shady sellers have high feedback ratings even though much of what they sell is misrepresented or just plain junk. Unfortunately, the feedback game for sellers seems to be to avoid receiving anything but positive feedback at all costs. It's really irrelevant what's actually taken place as long as the feedback is positive. If you as a buyer issue negative feedback, it is nearly 100 percent certain that you will get negative feedback in return no matter what the facts. Sellers learned a long time ago not to issue feedback until after they received it from the buyer. So, try to resolve problems through the eBay system before going negative! However, you've already gotten some, it should be possible to respond to it so at least your side of the story will be there for all to read (subject to the 80 character limit!).
In addition to the Positive/Neutral/Negative rating, the feedback system also now includes number ratings on five areas: listing accuracy, seller communications, speed of shipping, and cost of shipping. However, entering these is optional and the results will supposedly not be directly associated with your eBay ID. (Of course, if the seller doesn't have that many auctions, this can't be avoided.)
If you are a non-smoker and the odor of tobacco smoke residue bothers you, ask if this might be an issue with the item. Such problems are probably more likely with consumer electronics than lasers since one isn't *supposed* to be smoking in an optics/laser lab, but it won't hurt to ask. And, any tell-tail odor of tobacco smoke may mean that internal optics are contaminated aside from the thing being down right stiky. :)
Here are some other things to watch out for:
I understand when it costs $100 or more to ship a large frame laser but when there is a flat $25 fee for shipping, handling, and insurance for something like a small hand-held power meter, I consider that IPM. Such a device just needs a decent size box with ample bubble wrap and peanuts.
I've done experiments packing fragile HeNe laser tubes with 2 inches of packing and then making my best attempts to wreck them including across room tosses and drop kicking through the uprights. Couldn't do it. Now I'm not defending flimsy packing - overpackings is always better than underpacking. When I ship something like a HeNe laser or a power meter, it will be in a box with at least 4 to 6 inches of packing all around. Having done more buying than selling, it doesn't cost me anything because I save all packing materials. So, I've yet to add any sort of handling charge except for PayPal costs. I particularly love auctions where the seller talks about the expense of packing and then sends the thing in a box that's obviously travelled across the continent a dozen times with 1/4 inch wads of previously read newspaper for padding. :)
IMO, one is not supposed to be treating shipping, handling, and insurance as a profit making operation, that is for the bid price on the item. I much prefer auctions where the buyer pays the actual shipping cost that can be checked at the USPS, UPS, or FedEx Web sites. And I understand the justification for a reasonable handling/packing fee. But some auctions have taken this to ridiculous extremes and the sellers are obviously profiting from the extra charges.
Sometimes, the auction listing will quote a ridiculously high shipping cost that may be 3 times or more what the carrier shown would charge for the cheapest (Ground) service via their Web site. It won't hurt to contact the seller and question the shipping charges. They may quote you a price that's low enough to make bidding worthwhile. The eBay shipping isn't infallible.
Note that apparently, eBay has no problem with sellers charging flat handling fees but will cancel auctions that include handling fees based on a percentage of the final bid price.
Also note that while charges for overseas shipping will be high - perhaps much higher than you might expect or might like - there are also limits to what's reasonable there as well. Check with various carriers (e.g., UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL) to get an idea of what should be expected.
I would suggest avoiding those sellers that practice shipping, handling, and packing charge inflation unless the item is so unique that a similar one won't likely show up again from someone else without the attached strings. If you really can't live without bidding on an item which includes significant handling charges, just treat them as part of the bid price when determining your maximum bid.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent sniping other than by using an unrealistically high maximum bid or by doing it yourself. I actually think the rules should be changed so auctions end when there hasn't been a bid for some specified amount of time (say 1 minute) after the last accepted bid, or the official ending time, whichever is later - basically more like "real" auctions. This would be somewhat better for the seller, only slightly more traumatic for the bidders, and would totally eliminate sniping as an effective winning strategy. Some other on-line auctions like Labx apparently work something like this.
And, you can now snipe (or be sniped) automatically through the use of Web sites that will do the bidding automatically at the last nanosecond. Three of these are eSnipe, Auction Sniper, and Powersnipe.com. There are many more. But using one of these is no guarantee even if the specified bid price would have been high enough to win. You could still lose an auction if the snipe time is specified to be too close to the end of the auction and the server is busy or Internet traffic is high. However, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this and other similar sniping methods eventually force auction sites to change their end-of-auction rules as suggested above. While like everyone else, I don't like to be sniped at the last millisecond, at least if it's a real person, that's still a fair game. However, my personal opinion is that automated sniping is not playing by at least the spirit of the rules, though I may be forced to use automatic sniping occasionally when I'm not available at the end time of an auction or don't want to risk forgetting about an auction or falling asleep, as has been known to happen. :)
In addition, even if the auction closes with the shill as high bid, as long as the seller pays the auction's commission, they can simply attempt to sell the item at a later date without any other penalty. Note that if that high bid is then retracted, and you are offered the item in s "Second Chance" auction, it is fair for you to get the item for what it would have cost had that person not bid at all, not your maximum bid or something in between! If the starting price for the Second Chance auction is way above this, think very hard about how badly you want the item. CAUTION: I've seen some Second Chance emails that were spoofed and a scam. Make sure any Second Chance offer directs you to an authentic eBay Web link, NOT something that just has ebay in the URL or an IP number, OR an email address.
Look over the bid histories of the seller's previous auctions - if the same name or names show up as second high bid or with bid retractions in multiple auctions, be suspect. Or, if an item you thought had been sold, reappears from the same seller without explanation (though this may not mean much as many buyers do back out despite the bidding contract, which is rarely enforced. New stricter rules for bid retractions are supposed to make this more difficult though). Shill bidding is also likely if while bidding on an auction you notice the bid price creeping up to your maximum bid and then just exceeding it by the minimum possible increment. If you then submit another bid, it may not be countered and you will be stuck with the item - intentionally. And the seller gets a higher price than would have been likely without the shill's involvement.
Also see Don Lancaster's Enhancing your eBay Strategic and Tactical Skills II. It has hints for sellers as well as buyers.
Although eBay is the most well known general on-line auction company, there are many others - and new ones popping up (and disappearing) daily. These may also offer (fixed price) classified type advertisements. However, from what I've seen, the laser equipment related traffic on these is quite low at the present time, but they still may be worth checking on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You may have a better chance with fewer bidders! And, with the huge number of users of services like Yahoo, there are bound to be at least a few laser related items for sale at any given time. Here are two sites:
There are also sites appearing that are a cross between regular on-line auctions and good old flea markets or swap meets. Compared to eBay, the traffic on these is microscopic but it could be a growing trend. I don't know whether there is enough - or any - laser related stuff on these currently but they are probably worth watching.
Of course, regular low-tech industrial auctions may also turn up some laser related equipment and prices could end up being quite attractive where other bidders are more interested in things like steel shelving, NC machine tools, and front-end loaders. :)
And, the U.S. Government (and others), businesses, and universities, may auction or sell unneeded equipment or excess inventory periodically or continuously. While this is more likely to be beat up office furniture and obsolete PCs, laser related items may also be present. For example, the University of Utah Surplus Property Page lists several pieces of laser and optics equipment. The general public may get to pick over what is left after those connected with the University buy what they want but who knows? You could end up with a 10 kW CO2 laser for $10 if no one else bids on it. :)
(The following is mostly from: Jonathon Caywood (firstname.lastname@example.org).)
Experiences with on-line auctions vary. I've done some dealing on eBay and have had very good experiences in selling and buying with no problems. However, I am aware of people who have had unfortunate experiences buying from certain people. There are always going to be some bad apples with something like this. I usually will dig into someone's profile a bit before I will purchase from them. I check their feedback (indicated by the number which follows their account name, click on the number) and look to see what type of feedback they have. Needless to say, someone with 100+ comments, and no negative feedback is usually good to deal with. But people selling what you want don't always have such high feedback.
A few useful things to check on:
Some of my personal rules I use as to who to deal with, and who not to deal with:
Dealing on eBay is a bit of common sense, knowledge of what you're buying, research, and well - a small amount of luck. :)
For a blow-by-blow saga of what I'm experiencing now, please go to Sam's eBay Horror Story #1. I will be updating this as it plays out. I expect the outcome to be satisfactory, but the route it's taking is like one of those nightmares where you're trapped on a 15 dimensional mobius strip. Someone suggested that that was better thanbeing trapped in a 15 dimensional Klein Bottle but I'm not so sure. The latter sounds more interesting. :-)
DISCLAIMER: Product and service descriptions and claims are from the company literature or Web sites. This listing is NOT necessarily an endorsement of what they offer! Listing is in alphabetical order by company name.
Industrial lasers (cutting, welding, drilling, scribing, and marking), scientific research lasers (argon ion, erbium, helium-neon, ruby, etc.), laser show and entertainment lasers (argon and krypton ion). Optical test and measurement equipment, laser and optical components, vacuum equipment, electronic test equipment, accessories, more.
Laser repair including supplies and accessories. Cavities, rods, krypton and xenon Lamps, mirrors, water Filters, and other optical components.
Laser systems for marking, welding, cutting, drilling.
Laser and optics components, eyeware, system integration, more.
Argon, krypton, and mixed gas ion lasers. Development of new products for specific applications. Service of most manufacturers argon and krypton ion laser tubes. This company was founded by some of the former employees of American Laser, now defunct.
Ion tube and complete system rebuilds for Ion Laser Technology (ILT) lasers. New and refurbished argon and krypton-argon laser tubes for and sales of used lasers ILT. (DZ acquired the entire inventory and manufacturing line of ILT when they got out of the laser business.)
While not actually a major manufacturer of lasers (they may package a few with their name), Edmunds Scientific is so well known that I didn't feel right about leaving them off of this list. They do resell a variety of HeNe lasers, an argon ion, diode laser modules, DPSS green lasers, laser pointers of all types, laser accessories. They are a major supplier of industrial optics and, of course, popular scientific gadgets of every conceivable description!
Manufacturer of solid state lasers and related equipment for scientific, industrial, medical applications, with an emphasis on customized laser systems. The main products are pulsed tunable picosecond systems.
General electronics consulting as well as the repair of small argon ion, helium-cadmium, and Nd:YAG lasers.
Ion laser cleaning, alignment, repair, and tube refurb; and ion laser power supply repair for systems from most major manufacturers.
Their Web site also includes a significant amount of information on ion laser tube and power supply adjustment, alignment, failure modes, troubleshooting, and repair. Unfortunately, most of this did not work with Netscape V3.04. Perhaps, it will work with your browser and/or the problems have since been corrected.
Laser safety services, laser displays, laser service and refurb, more.
New and used helium-neon, argon and krypton ion, and CO2 laser tubes, heads, power supplies, and accessories. Also some Nd:YAQ and other solid state lasers; laser show, welding, and medical laser systems; optics, scanners, and more. Get your ion laser tubes refilled as well!
High quality used lasers for the scientific, industrial, and laser show markets. Ion laser repair including complete ion tube refurbishing.
I have been told that HHR does cut deals for hobbyist types. Although there have been unconfirmed reports of some problems with one laser sold by this company, recent reports have been positive.
Ion laser resale, repair, refurb; rental and sale of HeNe and other laser equipment; laser marking and scan control software, laser show software and equipment; holography consultation, more.
Laser gun sights, laser pointers, laser diodes, laser diode power supplies.
New and refurbished lasers and laser show equipment and software. System rentals. Ion laser tube reprocessing.
Sales, service, and support for Coherent and Lexel ion lasers including plasma tube repair.
Ion laser tubes (new and rebuilt); medical and surgical lasers, industrial and scientific lasers; microscopes and slit lamps; parts and accessories, service, etc. Also, laser light show equipment and software.
Service of solid state laser rods. We repolish and polish used and new rods for solid state lasers, Nd:YAG, Ruby, Glass, and other materials.
New and used scientific, industrial, medical and surgical lasers, components, and optics. They also auction laser equipment and parts via eBay (ID: zlasers).
Remanufactured Industrial CO2 Lasers with 1 to 3 year warranties, third party service for Nd:YAG and CO2 Lasers, and a complete inventory of spare parts for the lasers we sell. Their Web site includes a laser chat room.
Lasers and laser systems (surplus and rebuilt), surplus electronics, buy-sell-trade. Also, low cost DPSS frequency doubled green laser kits including Nd:YVO4 and KTP crystals, and instructions.
Argon ion, helium-neon, and Nd:YAG lasers and diode laser modules.
Lasers and related equipment, components, and software for laser show and other applications. Includes: DPSS and other lasers, scanning modules, small laser display systems, PCAOM devices, optics, etc.
Buy and sell preowned medical equipment including some lasers. Need a LaserScope KTP? You can buy one through this company without the uncertainty of eBay! :)
Remanufacture of most any type of glass DC excited CO2 laser and specializes in RF laser tubes by Coherent, Synrad and most any other manufactures of RF excited CO2 lasers. They also supply laser field service to many hospitals, clinics, and doctors offices.
Laser marking and maintenance providers supplying a wide range of laser safety equipment and spares as well as laser maintenence training.
ThorLabs used to have laser diode technical information on their Web site but it has apparently disappeared in favor of strictly commercial interests. Of course, it hadn't been updated for a few years so probably no great loss at this point! It is still possible to obtain a print copy of their complete catalog which may include "Thor's Guide to Laser Diodes" from their web site or by writing to Thorlabs at the address shown in the section: Some Laser and Optics Manufacturers and Suppliers.
Also see: K3PGP's Laser Diode Manufacturers and K3PGP's Laser Diode Specifications maintained by K3PGP (Email: email@example.com). (This is a listing of a database that is similar or identical the one from Thorlabs.)
Many major laser diode manufacturers have detailed specifications on the Web. For example:
Large electronics distributors are gradually improving their selection of laser diodes, diode laser modules, and components. For example, DigiKey now carries a half decent assortment of models from Coherent, Lumex, NVG, Panasonic, and others.
For suppliers of mostly high power laser diodes, see the section: Sources of Special Parts and Supplies for the Home-Built DPSS Laser. Also see the section: Laser and Optics Manufacturers and Suppliers.
Note that the alphabetical listing may go by the historical company name rather than what they are called now after 17 mergers and acquisitions - or something in between. For example, Agilent - which used to be Hewlett Packard and is now called Keysight - is listed with the "A"s. :)
DISCLAIMER: Product and service descriptions and claims are from the company literature or Web sites. This listing is NOT necessarily an endorsement of what they offer!
Manufacturer of RF-excited CO2 lasers for applications from spectroscopy to materials processing. Output power from 40 mW to 10 kW.
Design and manufacture of diode pumped solid state laser and nonlinear optical conversion technologies for our affordable, wavelength selectable, laser products.
Manufacturer of precision and custom optical components including optical flats, front surface mirrors, flat optical quality mirrors, and optical grade windows.
Aerotech used to manufacture HeNe lasers and components. They are now primarily involved with positioning mechanics, linear motors, rotary motors and drives, motion controllers, and laser interferometers. The helium-neon laser product line of Aerotech was acquired by the Laser Group of Melles Griot. These products include power supplies, laser heads and unique, patented single frequency adapter technology.
Aerotech is listed here mainly for reference should you come across one of their HeNe tube, laser heads, power supplies, or other related items.
Manufacturer and supplier of just about everything for electronic test and measurement equipment, and life sciences and chemical analysis. Of most relevance here are two-frequency HeNe lasers and complete solutions for interferometry-based metrology applications. Formerly Hewlett Packard, and now as of 2014, Keysight.
Designeer, manufacturer, and supplier of high power laser diode manufacturer offering single emitters, multi-element modules, bars and stacks in any configuration from 635nm to 2 microns. Also provides opto-mechanical sub-assemblies that incorporate optics, drive electronics and cooling.
Optical crystals, glasses, coatings, and scintillators.
Supplier of optical materials and precision optical components: fused silica, quartz, sapphire, calcium barium lithium magnesium fluoride, sodium potassium chloride, nonlinear and scintillation crystals, infrared and bullet-proof glass, more.
Manufacturer of nonlinear-mirror modelocked lasers and advanced diode-pumped solid-state lasers (modelocked, CW and Q-switched). They are also a supplier of a large selection of optical and laser components, and laser accessories.
AMI designs and manufactures a wide range of analog electronic products primarily for the laser and electro-optics industries. These include power supplies for laser diodes, arc lamps, and flashlamps; Pockels cell drivers, sensor amplifiers and pulse stretchers, fiber optics links, and rangefinder receivers.
Manufacturer of laser diode drivers and TE controllers, mode hop free diode lasers, photodiode amplifiers and preamplifiers, more.
Manufacturer of high power laser diodes, diode laser modules, and systems, in the wavelength ranges of 650 to 680 nm, 900 to 980 nm, and 1.8 to 2.1 um.
Manufacturer of highly accurate laser diode drivers, temperature controllers, and fixtures for test and measurement of laser diodes and LEDs.
Chinese manufacturer/supplier of various types of equipment including their own HeNe and CO2 laser tubes and YAG rods.
Design and manufacture of single and multimode VCSELs and VCSEL arrays. Wavelengths include: 760, 850, and 950 nm.
Manufacturer of cameras and camera systems, optical systems, and motion control products. Formerly, Axsys (and before that, Teletrac) had interferomtery-based metrology products including single-frequency HeNe lasers.
Optics, crystal, opto-electronics, opto-mechanics, more.
Supplier of high power laser diodes and fiber-coupled diode lasers, DPSS lasers, laser diode drivers, green laser pointers, IR cards, and PZT micropositioners.
Manufacturer and supplier of diode pumped solid state lasers for scientific, medical, industrial, and entertainment applications.
Compact, rugged, solid state lasers.
Manufacturer of optics, electro-optic instruments, and diode lasers with integral beam correction microlens - Circulaser(tm).
Supplier of HeNe, CO2, YAG, and other lasers, laser and non-laser cutting systems, more. May be a reseller of Meredith Instruments' HeNe lasers since their Web site uses the same photos and have similar specifications.
Developer, manufacturer, and provider of optical components, modules and subsystems including lasers, optical amplifiers, transmitters, receivers, transceivers, advanced photonics tools, thin film filters, VCSELs, High Power Lasers, and Micro Positioning Components.
High power laser diodes, drivers, fiber lasers, fiber Raman amplifiers, low noise green modules, visible-to-IR flexible DPSS modules, more. Boston Laser was formed in January, 2000 from the Laser Diode Division of Polaroid Corporation.
Manufacturer of fiberoptic components; acousto-optic modulators, deflectors, Q-switches, and more; NIR process analysis equipment; and diode laser modules.
Manufacturer of ultrafast fiber laser and fiber amplifier solutions for the needs of industry, research institutions and universities.
Manufacturer of laser systems and component parts. Ion laser repair and refurb including rebuilt or replacement plasma tubes, power supply repair, gas correction, realignment, system upgrading, as well laser system/equipment rentals. Includes Lexel Laser and have acquired HeNe laser assets of Spectra-Physics.
Manufacturer of a broad range of closed loop galvanometer-based optical scanning components and systems.
China based supplier of laser optics and other related components and kits. Includes vanadate and YAG crystals, non-linear crystals, and optics for DPSS lasers. The authorized distributor for CASIX in the USA is U-Oplaz Technologies, Inc..
Manufacturer of advanced laser crystals including SBBO, KBBF, KLN, optics, and silicon avalanche photodiodes.
Research, development and manufacture of precise optical instruments, off-the-shelf optical components and custom design optoelectronic systems. Includes HeNe and other lasers.
Manufacturer of tunable femtosecond lasers for life-sciences microscopy.
Manufacturer of femtosecond lasers for micromachining and spectroscopy.
Manufacturer of non-linear and electro-optic crystals and devices.
Manufacturer of DPSS lasers of many wavelengths including 266 nm, 355 nm, 457 nm, 473 nm, 501 nm, 532 nm, 556 nm, 671 nm, 946 nm, 1053 nm, 1064 nm, 1319 nm, 1342 nm, and 1444 nm.
Manufacturer of high performance DPSS lasers, diode laser modules, fiber pigtailed lasers.
CO2, tunable-dye, ion, CW, YAG, YLF, ultrafast, diode, and diode-pumped solid-state lasers (and high power diode arrays), for science, medicine, and industry.
Other divisions of Coherent, Inc. include the Auburn Group (Coherent-Ealing, Optics, and Instruments), Medical Group (lasers and fiber optic delivery systems) and Lambda Physik (excimer and dye lasers and laser dyes).
Tunable single frequency lasers in the 2 um range: 2047 to 2059 nm for Tm,Ho:YLF, 2008 to 2018 nm for Tm:YAG, and 2020 to 2030 nm for Tm:LuAG. Laser based eyesafe IR dopppler radar and other remote sensing systems.
Provider of engineering services in the area of conceptual design, detailed design, product implementation and project management, expanded to include diode pumped lasers and laser control systems. Standard products include microchip DPSS lasers, drivers, and and other system components.
Supplier of laser accessories that include laser modulators, beam deflectors, associated drive electronics, optical isolators, and polarizers.
Standard and custom-designed solid state laser systems for a variety of applications in science, industry and medicine.
Optical engineering and supplier including: Stock and custom design optics, optical System design, fiber optics supplies, holographic systems, laser diodes, mechanical mounting and positioning equipment, optical testing and measurement equipment, HeNe and HeCd lasers and power supplies, experiment and demonstration kits, technical assistance.
Creative Technology Lasers is also the U.S. representative for Electron Co., Ltd.
Distributors of laser pointers, diode laser modules (including DPSS green and low cost red models) and laser beam profilers, laser diodes (including some blue/violet types), and providers of related optics and electronics consulting services.
Manufacturer of non-linear and electro-optic crystals.
Manufacturer of cost effective ultra-compact diode-pumped crystal lasers.
Solid state diode-pumped laser technology,
Provider of high damage threshold optics for laser applicationsd including polarizers, waveplates, beam steering optics, focusing lenses, cavity optics, neutral density filters and opto-mechanical assemblies. CVI acquired Melles Griot from Barloworld Scientific in Summer, 2007.
Manufacturer of custom glass, plastic, and solid state lighting optics and illuminators.
High voltage power supplies including those for CO2 and HeNe lasers and capacitor chargers for pulsed solid state lasers.
Manufacturer of continuous, pulsed, super-pulsed and Q-switched, sealed-off, RF-excited, diffusion-cooled CO2 lasers and associated electronics.
Manufacturer of CO2 laser mirrors and lenses. (Spinoff of Laser Research Optics.) This company is hobbyist-friendly.
Laser systems, components, and sevices for materials processing.
Standard and custom diffractive optical elements, as well as diffractive optics macros for Optical Research Associates (ORA) Code V optical design software.
Manufacturer of Diode Pumped Solid State Lasers. Formerly, part of Liconix.
Manufacturer of ion laser power supplies including the Aurora 40 single-phase air-cooled "Spectra 265" replacement.
Manufacturer of laser systems (CO2, CO, and other far-IR), analytical instruments, and sensors.
Manufacturer/supplier of CW and Q-switched DPSS lasers at 1,064 nm and 532 nm, and line narrowed laser diodes.
Supplier of a variety of lasers, holography services, and other products.
Supplier of flowing gas CO2 laser kits, complete CNC Laser Cutting systems with sealed CO2 lsaer tubes and switchmode power supplies, and component parts.
Supplier/manufacturer of DPSS low to medium power lasers including green laser pointers and systems up to 150 mW or more. May be importer for laser systems and/or components of Far East origin.
Designer and manufacturer of advanced solid-state lasers and systems for medical, micro-welding, and other applications.
Manufacturer of precision optics. Large catalog of standard items with custom fabrication available.
Manufacturer of electro-optic products including those formerly from EG&G/Perkin Elmer.
Metrology equipment including lasers, optics, sensors, electronics, and complete calibration system.
Manufacturer of over 100 dye laser dyes.
EXFO provides the transport/datacom, copper access and optical test technologies required to optimize network performance and triple-play efficiency. Whether for FTTx, IPTV, VoIP, DSL, 10 GigE, next-gen SONET/SDH or DWDM applications. Also includes the former Burleigh product line of precise scientific instrumentation for laser test and measurement, surface imaging and measurement, and nanometer-scale positioning and alignment.
Design and development of special products for metrology, cutting tools, sensors, software, including laser interferometers.
Manufacturer of standard and custom arc lamps and flashlamps. Their Web site includes extensive specs and lamp design calculation resources.
InGaAs photodiodes, and InGaAsP lasers for fiberoptics, and HgCdTe detectors for imaging and sensing applications.
China based supplier of crystals and optics. Includes vanadate and YAG crystals, non-linear crystals, and optics for DPSS lasers. The authorized distributor for Foctek in the USA. is Red Optronics.
Manufacturer of optical fibers for mid-IR (4.0 to 16.0 um), core/clad and unclad fiber, optical losses less than 0.5 dB/m (at 10.0 micron), maximum power up to 50 W. Includes IR fibers for CO2 laser surgery, IR fiber sensors for IR-spectroscopy, photothermal radiometry, etc.
Manufacturer of metrology equipment and and materials test instruments including an iodine-stabilized HeNe laser system.
Design and manufacture of pulsed Neodymium lasers and turn-key holography systems.
Manufacturer of instruments for the measurement of light/measurement with light including UV-Vis-NIR radiometers, photometers, color meters, integrating spheres, optical/laser power meters, reflectance & transmittance instruments and optically diffuse materials.
Merger of General Scanning and Lumonics. Laser based systems for manufacturing (drilling, welding, machining, marking) using CO2, excimer, and solid state laser technology. Also, optics and fiberoptic components.
Manufacturer of laser and non-linear crystals, optics, and other laser components.
Manufacturer of photomultiplier tubes, image intensifiers, light sources, microchannel plates, fiber optics plates, photodiodes, position sensitive devices, LEDs, electron sensitive devices, mercury-xenon lamps, more.
Manufacturer and supplier of all sorts of specialting lamps including laser flashlamps and arc lamps; infra-red emitters for process heating; UV lamps for tanning, disinfection and germicidal applications; excimer, deuterium, reprographic and curing lamps, and more.
Manufacturer of metrology products and systems. They are supposed to be providing the iodine-stabilized HeNe lasers developed at National Physical Laboratory (NPL, UK).
Manufacturer of high power visible and IR laser diodes. These include single emitters and bars in open heatsink, packaged, collimated, and pigtailed configurations. Standard and custom parts available.
Manufacturer and supplier of standard and custom integrated circuits including several types for CW and pulsed/modulated laser diode drivers. Roithner Lasertechnik is one distributor of iC-Haus parts.
Manufacturer of laser optic materials, optics, components, electro-optical products and radiation detection devices from gamma ray to far infrared wavelengths.
A supplier of laboratory benchtop instrumentation for laser diode control, fiberoptic Test and laser measurement application
Manufacturer of lasers, laser materials, and optical and non-linear components.
Manufacturer of semiconductors for industrial and consumer applications including sensors. They used to have high power CW and pulsed laser diodes but these are now available from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.
Innolight GmbH (Germany)
Garbsener Landstr. 10
D-30419 Hannover, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 511 / 760 727-0
Fax: +49 (0) 511 / 760 727-99
Ultrastable NPRO-based single frequency DPSS lasers at 1,064 nm, 1,319 nm, 532 nm; control electronics, iodine frequency stabilization setup, phase locked loop controller, injection seeding electronics, more.
Manufacturer/supplier of light measurement systems, instruments, detectors, etc.
Manufacturer/Supplier of plastic fiber optics, LED and detectors, and custom LED and photodetector components; as well as laser and fiber optic training modules, kits, equipment and supplies for Grade 3 through University level. They have now taken over the Metrologic educational laser business but it is not known how many of the same Metrologic models will be offered.
Manufacturer of standard and custom high performance optical components including Faraday isolators and rotators, and PPLN.
Manufacturer of IR and UV opticcal components and materials including CaF2, BaF, quartz, sapphire, Ge, CdTe, ZnSe, Si, KBr, KCl, NaCL, and more.
Laser, non-linear, and other crystals including Nd:YAG, Nd:YVO4, BBO, KTP, LBO, and LiNBO3. Crystal polishing and repolishing services.
Manufacturer and supplier of optics, lasers and positioners in India including standard and made-to-order products like lasers (diode and HeNe), optics, micro positioners, kinematic mounts and educational kits for research and industrial applications.
Manufacturer of precision optical components including lenses, windows, and prisms made from a broad range of crystalline and other exotic materials.
Manufacturer/Supplier of laser interferometric measuring equipment and systems including stabilized HeNe lasers.
Manufacturer/supplier of power supplies for CO2, HeNe, YAG, and other lasers; xenon lamps, other high voltage applications.
Manufacturer/distributor of medium and large helium-neon lasers (visible and IR), non-contact gauging systems, diode laser modules, and holography instruments and supplies.
Manufacturer of mounted and fiber-coupled high power laser diode bars and stacks.
Manufacturer of high voltage systems for medical and industrial X-ray applications, capacitor chargers for laser and pulsed power systems, standard products and customs design services available.
Manufacturer of a wide range of solid state laser components specializing in pretested systems, subsystems and customized laboratory laser systems. Site include many references to solid state lasers (but they do not appear to be on-line).
Manufacturer of DPSS lasers using their proprietary DANICAFC (Double ENhanced INtra-Cavity Frequency Conversion) technology. Includes some very unusual wavelengths like CW ruby at 694.3 nm.
Manufacturer of excimer and dye lasers, and laser dyes.
Manufacturer of solid state industrial pulsed Nd:YAG laser sources primarily for welding, cutting, and drilling of metals.
Supplier of lasers, optics and fibre optic equipment. (Other divisions in France, Germany, and Belgium may be found through the Laser 2000(UK) Web page or directly at the Laser 2000 International Homepage.
Manufacture, and design of laser optics for the infra red, especially high power CW and pulsed lasers. They also manufacture and stock spare parts for most European, American, and Japanese lasers.
Manufacturers and/or distributors for fiber optics, IR/UV components, laser optics, optoelectronic measurement, visible and NIR laser diodes and detectors, far IR (lead salt, 3 to 25 um) diode lasers.
Non-linear laser crystals and optics supplier in the area of the former USSR. Types include LBO, BBO, KTP and many others.
Fiber optic transmitter and receiver products, GaAs pulsed lasers and GaAs high power CW lasers.
Manufacturer of large multi-bar laser diode arrays with CW power output from 100 W to over 1 kW and QCW power output from 500 W to over 5 kW.
Manufacturer of power supplies for Helium-Neon, argon ion, and carbon dioxide lasers, and tungsten and gas discharge lamps. (Search for "HeNe" or "Argon" or "Laser" as appropriate. Their Website is in disarray.)
Manufacturer of custom and standard CW and pulsed DPSS laser systems and modules.
Supplier of blue and green laser pointers, and lab and alignment lasers.
Laser consulting services - cutting, welding, heat treating - process evaluation, system design, process improvement.
Manufacturer of green, red, & infrared laser diode modules & products, including DPSSFD green lasers, laser aimers, laser light show, and laser pointers, as well as fiber optic components and products, including pigtailed and receptacle communication laser diodes and VCSEL diodes as optical transmitters, connectorized photodiodes, and integrated optical transmitters. They also supply laser diodes, photodiode detectors, diffractive optics, diode driver circuit boards, and laser safety goggles.
Laser solutions for the telecommunications, biomedical, semiconductor, aerospace, law enforcement and shooting sports industries.
Beam benders and other optical components.
Fiber laser marking and cutting systems.
Designer and manufacturer of Nd:YAG lasers, tunable solid state lasers, spectroscopy equipment, and laser elemental analyzers.
Supplier of scientific and medical lasers, laser safety and measurement accessories, metrology products, and other photonics equipment.
Laser Optics, Microlasers and Technologies, from .2 um to 20 um.
Manufacturer of laser power/energy meters and radiometers.
CO2 laser optics.
Manufacturer of laser power and energy measurement products from probes to complete systems.
Manufacturer of Diode Pumped Solid State (DPSS) Lasers, power supplies, and accessories.
CO2 laser lenses and/or mirrors fabricated from zinc selenide, germanium, silicon, molybdenum.
Turn-key medical/surgical laser systems including Nd:YAG at 1,064 and 532 nm, Er:YAG, and CO2 lasers.
Supplier of laser consumables, spare parts, optics, OEM laser sources and marking systems.
Research and development company specializing in laser metrology and related applications. Include laser interferometers.
Manufacturer of DPSS lasers including IR, green, and blue.
Formerly part of Siemens. They sold their line to Zeiss, then there was a management buyout. Lasos now manufactures a good portion of the HeNe and argon ion laser product line. The Lasos Web site includes specificaitons for many of the common Siemens lasers and power supplies. They also offer DPSS lasers.
Manufacturer/supplier of standard and custom optics and optical coatings.
Products include: CO2, Diode, and HeNe laser systems and equipment, distance measuring equipment, optical components, vision systems and illumination; sawmill, steelmill, mining and paper industry, and medical lasers, sensors, and equipment; surplus equipment, optics and lasers.
Green laser pointers and DPSS laser modules, more.
Design and manufacture of CW and Pulsed Nd:YAG lasers for OEM use.
853 Brown Road
Fremont, CA 94539
Manufacturer of large frame ion lasers. Lexel Laser was acquired by Cambridge Laser Laboratories in 2002.
Manufacturer of HeCd lasers.
Manufacturer of high power green (532 nm) DPSS lasers for scientific research, industrial manufacturing, and the life sciences. Includes lasers up to 15 W for dye and Ti:Sapphire laser pumping.
Optical design, high power lasers, optical fabrication, laser systems, metrology, thin film coatings and custom machinery fabrication.
Importer/supplier of CO2 laser parts and complete CNC machines, diode lasers, and a variety of electronics and surplus.
Manufacturer of Diode Pumped Solid State (DPSS) Lasers.
Collimated and fiber-coupled high-power-diode-laser-modules, refractive beam correction optics, micro-optics for research and development, accessories.
Manufacturer of laser measurement systems and HeNe lasers. Laser repair including tube refilling, specifically Spindler and Hoyer. Solving customer problems and on-site measurements. Sale of measurement devices.
Manufacturer of synthetic crystals (rods and slabs), electro-optics components, high temperature superconductor substrates.
Manufacturer of Diode Pumped Solid State (DPSS) lasers.
Manufacturing process controls but includes a power supply for the Spectra-Physics 170 and other large frame ion lasers. They have on-line manuals and some schematics.
Manufacturer of opto and photo-electronic components including some laser diodes (it looks like Lumex has cut back on their laser diode offerings, perhaps to phase them out entirely). They now offer mostly LEDs photodetectors, LCD displays, gas tube devices, and light pipes.
Design and manufacture of lasers and photonic instruments for applications in academia, remote sensing, bio-photonics, defence, and metrology.
Manufacturer of devices for measuring and analyzing the power output of laser devices including low cost (IR) viewing plates, power meters, and spectrum analyzers.
Design and manufacturing of quality optical thin film filters.
Manufacturer/supplier, service, and rental of lasers and other laser related equipment for measurement, tooling/calibration, and alignment.
Distributor of Lasers and Instrumentation for life science, medical, aerospace, quality control and research applications.
Manufacturer of polarization control devices - polarizers, retarders, liquid crystals, spatial light modulators, mounts, more.
HeNe lasers, diode lasers, DPSS lasers, and sub-assemblies, some optics and accessories. (Much less than in the past.)
Copper vapor, gold vapor, and dye laser systems, equipment, and components.
Manufacturer and supplier of low cost high volume high quality optics and opto-electronics including diffractive pattern generators, beamsplitters, diffusers, custom patterns, microlens arrays, MEMS systems and integration, adaptive optics, more.
Manufacturer of optical frequency synthesizers, femtosecond fiber lasers, laser stabilization units, more.
MEOS offers professional applications in the fields of education, industry and surveillance.
Manufacturer of laser barcodes scanners, industrial scanning and imaging equipment, and advanced optics. Metrologic's education laser business has been sold to Industrial Fiber Optics.
MICOS specializes in innovative systems and components in micro-and nano-positioning, photonics and laser-technology. They offer a complete range of standard products as well as experimental kits used in education and research.
Manufacturer and supplier of gravity measurement and other test equipment including a stabilized HeNe laser.
High performance diode laser systems featuring: circular, gaussian beams, extremely low wavefront error, various beam sizes and shapes, and diode laser modules to laser optical sub-assemblies.
Supplier of extremely compact air-cooled argon/krypton ion lasers for science, industry, and education.
Manufacturer/supplier of single crystal, materials, and components for science, education, development, industry.
Optical materials including CVD silicon carbide, zinc selenide, and zinc sulfide.
Major manufacturer of air-cooled ion laser systems using permanently aligned internal mirror tubes, replacement ion tubes, conversion kits available to install their tubes in laser heads from UP, SP, ALC, MG, ILT, and NEC.
Manufacturer of HeNe lasers, stabilized HeNe lasers, diode lasers, DPSS lasers, and magnetic instruments.
Acousto-optic components for lasers including AOMs, PCAOMs, as well as industrial systems and volumetric display devices.
New Focus is a supplier of photonics tools for laser applications. Products include narrow-linewidth tunable diode lasers, ultrafast photodetectors (DC-60 GHz), electro-optic modulators, wavelength meters, mechanical positioners, motorized positioners, and high-performance optics.
Design and manufacture small high performance Nd:YAG laser systems.
Precision components and systems used for development and application of laser and optical technologies. Newport now owns Spectra-Physics.
Designer and manufacturer of high power diode lasers.
Manufacturer of "Protera" Vertical Extended Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSELs or as they call them, NECSELs) in wavelengths including 460 nm, 488 nm, and 532 nm.
Manufacturer of standard and custom crystals and optics.
UK's National Measurement Institute is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards. Includes development of several iodine stabilized HeNe lasers, now supposedly manufactured by Hexagon Metrology.
Gradient index optics including the SELFOC lens for fiber optic communications, medical imaging, and document reproduction.
Manufacturers of laser display systems, Airoamer, and distributors of lighting and control systems.
Manufacturer of diode laser modules, drivers, optical power meter, optics, laser pointers, more. Includes a very compact IC based laser diode driver. Supplier of IR and visible laser diodes. Some major electronics distributors like DigiKey carry NVG's products.
Miniature CCD Spectrometers, sensors, light sources, optical fibers, metrology, education, oem solutions.
Old Omnichrome contact info (may no longer be valid):
13580/13620 Fifth Street
Chino, CA 91710
Phone: 1-909-627-1594 (probably sales)
Argon/krypton ion and helium-cadmium lasers, power supplies, accessories.
Manufacturer of volume holographic gratings, ASE suppression filters, pulse stretcher/compressor filters, notch filters, phase masks, wavelength stabilized laser diodes, collimated lasers, butterfly lasers, fiber coupled, and single frequency collimated laser modules.
IR optics, laser measurement system, and optical metrology.
Manufacturer efficient, compact, and widely tunable solid-state laser systems based on Optical Parametric Oscillator (OPO) technology.
Laser diodes, modules, controllers, optics, laser power meters, accessories.
Designs, manufactures, and markets laser-based precision measurement equipment for machine tool calibration and compensation, metrology, nano meter positioning, vibration sensing, and a wide variety of other industrial applications for the end user and OEM markets.
Supplier and manufacturer of innovative optoelectronic components and products to the industrial, medical, telecommunications and defense markets in the UK, Europe and USA including Optowell VCSELs, Opnext Laser Diodes, and Panasonic Lenses.
High-power diode lasers, diode laser systems and integrated stacks, and fiber-coupled diode lasers.
Manufacturer of precision electro-optical sensors and measurement solutions. Formerly, Optra has an interferometer-based metrology product line including a two-frequency HeNe laser.
Oriel Instruments manufactures over 4000 components and instruments to make, move and measure light. These include UV-IR CW and pulsed light sources; nitrogen, HeNe, diode and solid state lasers; monochromators and spectrographs; detectors and detection systems; FTIRs; CCDs and PDAs for spectroscopy; fluorescence measurement instruments; optical components; fiber optics; micropositioning equipment; optical mounts and much more.
Laser diodes (including high power single emitters, bars, and modules), LEDs, and lamps and lighting products of all types. OSRAM products used to be available from Infineon.
Manufacturer of precision components for optical beam handling and positioning.
Manufacturer of laser based systems for high speed imaging, micromachining, forensics, spectroscopy, UV light generation (by frequency doubling), entertainment, more.
Manufacturer and supplier of phase masks, high power metal masks, apodization masks, hydrogen loading system, fiber grating simulation tools and other optoelectronic components, fiber optics and micro optics products. Includes low and high power laser diodes, and photodiodes and other sensors.
Manufacturer of laser crystals, non-linear crystals, composite crystals, optics, hybrid modules, laser pointers, laser modules, and more. (Manufacturing in China, corporate headquarters in California.)
Manufacture and re-gas CO2 lasers and laser tubes (DC excited, sealed or slow flow) for medical & industrial applications. On-line laser tube specifications and prices.
Visible and infra-red laser diodes, laser light sources, bidirectional devices, LEDs, detectors, collimators, attenuators, more.
Manufacturer of all sorts of opto-electronic and other high tech products.
Manufacturer of DBR laser diodes and SAF-SOA gain chips for spectroscopy, metrology, and manufacturing.
Laser beam profiling instruments. They have some application notes on laser beam characteristics available upon request that may of general interest.
Manufacturer of deep UV hollow cathode ion and semiconductor lasers, and related analytic instruments.
Manufacturer of photonics instrumentation, from components to complete fluorescence systems. Their Web site includes on-line operation manuals for some of their products including N2 and dye lasers and a frequency doubler.
Distributor of all laser diodes, laser diode modules, and related products.
Manufacturer of diode pumped CW, pulsed, mode-locked, and Q-switched solid state lasers from 1 mW to 400 W or more. In addition to Nd:YAG, Nd:YVO4, and Nd:YLF IR, green, UV and deep-UV lasers, they have tunable Ti:Sapphire lasers, OPOs, and more.
Manufacturer of pulsed blue diode lasers, sub-ns pulsed blue/green LED sources, associated devices, titaniam sapphire laser kits, more.
Manufacturer of HeNe lasers (VIS, IR, stabilized, metrology), HeCd lasers, CO2 lasers, nitrogen lasers, ion lasers, thyratrons, spark gaps, surge arresters, industrial ceramics, display devices, metal-ceramic units, X-ray tubes, more.
Manufacturer of high power semiconductor laser diodes and arrays, packaged or bare.
Manufacturer of laser and non-linear crystals, optics, and hybrid modules as well as motion control products.
Manufacturer of piezoelectric actuators, nanoautomation, high throughput piezo flexure stages, vibrometer systems, and a variety of scientific lasers including: pulsed Nd:YAG, dye, Ti:Sapphire, excimer, CW Nd:YAG, tunable diode lasers, more.
Deep UV lasers, DPSS Nd:YLF lasers, Ti:Sapphire amplifiers, and customized lasers for science and industry.
Diode lasers and modules, accessories, diode pumped Nd:YAG lasers, HeNe power supplies, more.
Manufacturer of standard and custom high performance optics.
Effects development, components, and systems for the laser show and laser lighting industry. Fiber optic system, optical components, electronic components, diffraction gratings, LaserCAD Software.
Manufacturer of complete laser-based precision marking and cutting systems.
Supplier of precision optics including replacement laser optics and diffraction gratings.
Manufacturer of copper bromide lasers for industry and medicine.
Manufacturer of DPSS lasers.
Manufacturer of lasers, optics, mechanics, instrumentation, and more.
Manufacturer of an innovative line of diode-pumped solid state lasers and carries out contract research and development on advanced solid state lasers and associated nonlinear optics. Their Web site also has many technical papers on solid state lasers and related topics.
Supplier of laser diodes, superluninescent diodes, LEDs, photodiodes, and modules and systems, for research, development, and production.
Manufacturer of diode, DPSS, fiber, tunable, and other solid state lasers with both standard products and custom development capability.
Manufacturer of high power solid state lasers and laser systems for the scientific, semiconductor, medical, and industrial markets.
Non-linear optics, pulse pickers, noise eaters, modulators, regen systems, EO systems, HV drivers, complete systems.
Supplier of laser pointers, laser tools, laser signts, and other laser based products.
Manufacturer of dye lasers and accessories, dye seeded OPOs, frequency doublers, laser optics, energy detectors, Raman cells, and more. They also overhaul excimer lasers.
Manufacturer/supplier of non-linear and electrooptic crystals and elements.
Manufacturer of standard and custom optics for the defense, commercial, industrial, and laser markets.
Manufacturer of metrology, spectrascopic, and even some medical and dental equipment. Includes complete metrology systems based on single frequency HeNe lasers.
Manucfaturer/supplier of optical components including laser and non-linear crystals and precision optics for a wide range of laser, semiconductor, military, space and fiber optics applications.
Coated and uncoated optical components and a comprehensive line of HeNe lasers including 5 line tunable types. Standard and custom products.
Supplier of lasers, optical parts, coating services, precision mechanical parts, and OEM services.
Manufacturer of electro-optical assemblies and systems design, development, and manufacturing.
Manufacturer of high power industrial lasers with 25 locations worldwide. Products includes DC and RF excited CO2 lasers (1 to 22 kW CW), diode and arc lamp pumped Nd:YAG lasers (up to 2.7 kW CW and 120 J/pulse), and BIG diode lasers (up to 2.5 kW CW - yikes!), as well as complete laser marking systems.
Supplier of laser diodes and laser diode drivers, modules, pointers, solid state laser and non-linear crystals, accessories, VCSELs, LEDs, UV photodiodes, night vision devices, tritium light sources, CO2 laser components, laser power meters, filters, IR detector cards, a few medical lasers, laser safety devices, more.
Optics of all types from A to Z as well as HeNe lasers, diode laser modules, microscope components, positioning devices, and assistance with optical problems and selection.
All kinds of optical components. Their Web site wouldn't work with my browser so no more info.
Supplier of diode and solid state lasers and accessories.
Manufacturer of measurement instruments including laser power and energy meters.
Training modules for science, physics, technology education, and the building trade. HeNe and diode lasers in see-through cases, optics, and accessories available separately.
Supplier of DPSS lasers, laser pointers, non-linear crystals and precision optics from Shanghai Dream Laser Technologies (http://www.dreamlasers.com) in UK and Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Supplier of DPSS and diode lasers, CO2 lasers, Gentec laser power & energy meters, laser safety products, laser pointers, laser alignment products, non-linear crystals, optics, opto- mechanical and positioning products, LEDs, spectrometers, more.
High power laser diodes, subsystems, and accessories.
Manufacturer of laser beam diagnostic instruments including optical spectrum analyzers, sensor cards, beam profilers and power and energy meters.
DFB & Fabry-Perot laser diodes, linear and area photodiode arrays, line scan and 2-D CCD cameras, 2.2 um and 2.5 um photodetectors.
Manufacturer and supplier of HeNe laser tubes, complete HeNe lasers, CO2 laser tubes, and other glass related equipment.
Supplier of DPSS lasers, laser and non-linear crystals, and precision optics.
Manufacturer of DPSS lasers and systems.
Manufacturer/supplier of medical lasers, aesthetic products, smoke evacuators, CO2 laser tubes and power supplies, and laser protective eyewear.
Supplier of DPSS lasers at many wavelengths, diode lasers, filters, custom optics, and crystals.
Supplier of medical HeNe, CO2, Nd:YAG, and diode lasers but also will sell components including CO2 laser tubes, some optics, and power supplies for both HeNe and CO2 lasers separately.
Manufacturer/supplier of DPSS lasers, optics, crystals. (May be distributor for CASIX.)
Optics, optical devices as wekk as DPSS, HeNe, and ion lasers. Appear to have taken over NEC HeNe laser product line.
Supplier and distributor of a wide range of optronics products including CO2, DPSS, YAG, and diode lasers, power supplies, and complete laser machining systems. Also laser and optical components, and relevant accessories.
Manufacturer of interferometer-based metrology systems (includes stabilized HeNe lasers), nano-vibration analyzer, nano-positioning and nano-measurement equipment, and optical interference testing system.
French manufacturer of high energy excimer lasers, ultra-high resolution spectrometers and spectroscopic ellipsometers for both R&D and production.
Distributor of DPSS lasers and optics including CASIX DPSS laser kits.
Lasers and laser systems, optics, and optical instrumentation for OEM, science, and industry.
Manufacturer of Nd:YLF, Er:YLF, KNbO3, fluoride crystals, and UV and IR optics. Standard and custom parts.
High power helium-neon lasers, sealed CO2 lasers, laser power supplies.
Spectronika is a manufacturer of sealed off copper vapor lasers as well as associated coated optical components, optics mounts, safety goggles, laser entertainment systems and associated electronics.
Manufacturer of laser beam diagnostic instruments/software and laser power meters.
Systems and hardware for ultra-high performance cavity-stabilized lasers.
Manufacturer of optical tables, mounts, and accessories, motorized stages, and DPSS lasers and diode laser drivers.
Manufacturer of laser systems for structured lighting, specialty optical fiber, and Lasiris phase masks, in addition to other lighting products.
Laser, non-linear, EO, AO, FE, and birefringent crystals; IR windows, thin films, targets, etc.
Technology for ultra-short laser pulse measurement.
RF-excited sealed CO2 lasers.
Manufacturer of scientific lasers including diode-pumped, ultrafast, tunable, and PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) lasers, optical sensors, and industrial cleaning and marking lasers.
Passively Q-switched DPSS microlasers and ion exchange integrated optics. Teem Photonics acquired the Nanolaser product line from JDS Uniphase.
Optomechanics, optics, optoelectronics, laser diodes, and fiber optics. Includes glass and plastic optical components, diffractive pattern generators, laser diodes, laser diode drivers, more.
Fiber and fiber optic components and accessories, as well as related product design, consultation, and repair. (Web site includes a glossary, some tools, and a history of fiber optics.)
Manufacturer of diode lasers, ultrafast fiber lasers, wavelength meters, laser diodes, and other photonics products.
Supplier of green DPSS laser modules and other laser products.
Manufacturer of high power CO2 and YAG materials processing lasers and systems.
Manufacturer of tunable, injection locking, amplifier diode laser systems and frequency doubling systems. Includes direct blue tunable diode laser covering 388 to 430 nm.
Manufacturer of high voltage power suppltrav
Non-linear crystals and optics. Current USA distributor for CASIX.
Umicore Laser Optics is a manufacturer of CO2 laser optics and beam delivery equipment for low to high power lasers.
Supplier of customized high power diode laser systems.
Manufacturer of sealed RF excited air-cooled CO2 lasers.
Supplier of laser diodes and laser diode modules.
Manufacturer of high precision flats, windows, substrates, prisms and lenses. Materials include fused quartz, crystal quartz, sapphire, Si, Ge, lithium niobate, lithium tantalate, rutile, strontium titanate, BaF, CaF, MgO, spinel, and alumina ceramics.
Manufacturer/supplier of optical tables, optical benches, virbration isolators, enclosures and curtains, beam dumps, and other optical lab support equipment, as well as laser diode drivers, current meters, laser safety eyewear.
Manufacturer of laser gain materials such as Nd:YAG, Nd:YLF, and ruby; non-linear crystals, including KNbO3 for frequency doubling; and polarization optics such as quartz waveplates, rotators, and thin film polarizers.
Manufacturer/supplier of lasers including HeNes (up to 100 mW!!, and some stabilized single and two-frequency), HeCd, CO2, DPSS, tunable Ti:Sapphire. Also laser accessories, crystals, optics and optics assemblies, and monochromators and spectrometers.
Manufacturer of high voltage diodes, rectifier assemblies, multipliers, hybrids, opto-couplers, and power supplies for HeNe lasers, CRTs, X-ray equipment, and general HV applications.
Manufacturer of HeNe laser power supplies including a universal HeNe laser test set for powering virtually all HeNe lasers which includes current adjust, and voltage and current monitoring.
Manufacturer of high performance laser diode drivers and thermoelectric control products.
Manufacturer/supplier of a variety of HeNe lasers including stabilized Zeeman-split types for metrology and dual-mode types for laboratory applications, as well as non-stabilized HeNe lasers and other related items. The Zeeman-split lasers include the WT307B/C/D which are clones of HP/Agilent 5517B/C/D. They also repair lasers from HP/Agilent, Zygo, and others.
Manufacturer of iodine-stabilized HeNe lasers (direct and offset-locked), laser heterodyne system, and laser calibration software.
Supplier/integrator of laser engraving, marking, and cutting systems.
Zygo designs, manufactures, and distributes high-end optical systems and components for metrology and end-user applications including several two-frequency HeNe lasers.