Sam's Laser FAQ, Copyright © 1994-2021,
Samuel M. Goldwasser, All Rights Reserved.
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<==== Sam's Laser FAQ ====>
Comprehensive Table of Contents
Links to Every Chapter and Section
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Sam's Laser FAQ Main Table of Contents
- Foreword - How Sam's Laser FAQ evolved into what it is today and other tid-bits.
- Preface - Author & copyright, DISCLAIMER, acknowledgments, requests.
- Introduction - Scope, purpose, and organization of this document, related information.
- What is a Laser and How Does It Work? - The laser age, principles, types, on-line tutorial, lasers as a hobby.
- Laser Safety - Hazards to vision, other issues, 100 W light bulb versus 1 mW laser, safety classifications, links.
- Items of Interest - Laser power meters, Fabry-Perot and DFB types, wavelengths, speckle, collimation, etc.
- Laser Instruments and Applications - Rangefinders, interferometers, gyros, light shows, laser TV, Fourier optics.
- Laser Experiments and Projects - Basic to advanced including diffraction, interference, holography, display, more.
- Laser Information Resources - Books, magazines, collections, patents; Web newsgroups, lists, forums, links.
- Laser and Parts Sources - Walk-in, mail order, high quality, surplus, component and system manufacturers.
- Diode Lasers - Basic considerations, visible and IR (e.g., from CD player) types, testing, visibility, collimation.
- Diode Laser Power Supplies - Drive requirements, modulation, sample circuits for low and high power devices.
- Helium-Neon Lasers - Theory (simple), operation, sealed tube structure, characteristics, power requirements.
- Commercial Unstabilized HeNe Lasers - Specific models from Melles Griot, Spectra-Physics, Coherent, more.
- Stabilized HeNe Lasers - Intrinsic and extrinsic locking techniques, performance, design, implementation, testing.
- Commercial Stabilized HeNe Lasers - Specific Models from Hewlett Packard/Agilent, Zygo, Teletrac/Axsys, more.
- HeNe Laser Testing, Adjustment, Repair - Problems, testing, mirror alignment, collimation, polarization, refilling.
- HeNe Laser Power Supplies - Requirements, types, plug-n-lase, matching tube to PS, testing, problems, repair.
- HeNe Laser Power Supply Design - AC line powered, low voltage inverters, starters, regulators, modulators.
- Complete HeNe Laser Power Supply Schematics - more than 35 AC line and 25 inverter types, most you can build.
- Argon/Krypton Ion Lasers - General features and characteristics, basic power requirements, specific examples.
- Ar/Kr Ion Laser Testing, Maintenance, Repair - Tube life, problems, testing, general maintenance, alignment.
- Ar/Kr Ion Laser Power Supplies - Basic requirements, types, specific safety issues, testing, problems, repair.
- Ar/Kr Ion Laser Power Supply Design - AC line front-ends, igniters, linear and switchmode regulators, protection.
- Complete Ar/Kr Ion Laser Power Supply Schematics - Both linear and switching types using common parts.
- Carbon Dioxide Lasers - Characteristics and requirements, applications, small sealed tubes, gas fill, optics.
- Helium-Cadmium Lasers - Characteristics, power supplies, HeCd laser head and PSU troubleshooting.
- Solid State Lasers - Characteristics, types, pulsed/CW, Q-switching, frequency changing, common SS lasers.
- Commercial SS Lasers - Hughes M60, SSY1, C215/315/415M, C532, uGreen, MG-BLD/GSD, LWE-221, more.
- SS Laser Testing, Adjustment, Repair - Cleaning, cooling, alignment, tuning, beam quality and energy.
- SS Laser Power Supplies - Capacitor chargers, PFNs, PSUs using photoflash units, sources for special parts.
- Complete SS Laser Power Supply Schematics - Circuits for the Hughes ruby and YAG lasers, uYAG, more.
- Amateur Laser Construction - Resources, safety, the home laser lab, supplies, vacuums, glass working, more.
- Vacuum Technology for Home-Built Gas Lasers - Vacuum basics, pumps, gauges, components, testing, repair.
- The Home-Built Laser Assembly and Power Supply - Structure, optics, mirror mounts, electrical components.
- Home-Built Laser Types, Information, and Links - Introduction to laser descriptions and "Light and its Uses".
- Home-Built Helium-Neon (HeNe) Laser - Much like the original gas laser from 1962 produces a red beam.
- Home-Built Pulsed Argon and/or Krypton (Ar/Kr) Ion Laser - A similar gas laser produces multiple color beam.
- Home-Built Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser - High power (10 to 50 W or more) flowing gas infra-red laser.
- Home-Built Nitrogen (N2) Laser - Pulsed ultraviolet laser that is easy to construct without fancy equipment.
- Home-Built Helium-Mercury (HeHg) and Other He-Metal-Vapor Lasers - Operation at multiple visible wavelengths.
- Home-Built Copper Chloride (CuCl) and Copper Bromide (CuBr) Laser - Pulsed intense yellow and green beam.
- Home-Built Dye Laser - Generate almost any color of the spectrum depending on which chemical dye is used.
- Home-Built Pulsed Multiple Gas (PMG) Laser - Simple design uses O2, Xe, Ar, Kr, or Ne; maybe even plain air.
- Home-Built Pulsed Solid State (PSS) Laser - Basic ruby or Nd:YAG laser system using flashlamp pumping.
- Home-Built Diode Pumped Solid State (DPSS) Laser - Vanadate with KTP SHG for 1 mW to 5 W green output.
- Author and Copyright
- Use Without Permission or Acknowledgment Alerts
- More on My Background and What I Do for a Real Job
- Sam's Laser Lab and Lasers
- Please Don't Scrap Your Unwanted or Broken Lasers or Laser Related Equipment and Parts!
- Request for Computer Resources in Support of Sam's Laser FAQ Development
- Scope and Purpose of This Document
- Organization of This Document
- Related Information
- A Brief Introduction to Lasers Principles and Structure
- The Laser Age
- General Physical Characteristics of Lasers
- Basic Laser Operation
- On-line Introductions to Lasers
- Characteristics of Some Common Lasers
- The Largest and Smallest Lasers
- Lasers for the Hobbyist and Experimenter
- Why Do People Get Into Lasers?
- Commercial Lasers Versus Amateur Laser Construction
- General Comments on Lasers as a Hobby
- Database of Equipment Containing Interesting Lasers
Items of Interest
- Introduction to Items of Interest
- Brief Glossary of Common Laser Terms
- International System of Units (SI) Prefixes
- Web Site With Some Common Optical Calculations
- Laser Power, Photons, How Much Light?, Beam Profile
- About Laser Power Ratings
- Radiometry Primer: What is a Lumen, Lux, Nit, Candela?
- Conservation of Radiance
- So How Many Photons are Coming Out of My Laser?
- How Much Light Does a 5 W Laser Really Produce?
- How Dim a Laser Can be Seen by the Naked Eye?
- Laser Powered LEDs
- Pressure of Light
- Interaction of Beams of Light?
- Measuring the Beam Profile
- Photographing Laser Beams
- Laser Beam Power Inside and Outside the Laser
- Laser Power Meters
- What Makes a Laser Power Meter So Expensive?
- Types of Semiconductor Light Sensors
- Thermal Laser Power and Energy Meters
- Measuring Power of Short Pulses
- Extending the Range of a Laser Power Meter 1
- Extending the Range of a Laser Power Meter 2
- Home-Built Laser Power Meters
- Sam's Super Cheap and Dirty Laser Power Meter (SG-PM0)
- Simple Photodiode Sensor Units
- Sam's Photodiode Preamp 1 (SG-PP1)
- Sam's Dual Photodiode Preamp 1 (SG-PD1)
- Sam's Laser Power Meter 1 (SG-PM1)
- Sam's Laser Power Meter 2 (SG-PM2)
- Simple Laser Power Meter Using Photocell
- Comments on Home-Built Laser Power Meters
- Effect of Beam Size and Angle on Power Meter Reading
- Using a Photographic Exposure Meter as a Laser Power Meter
- Simple Thermal Laser Power Meters
- Photodetectors for Low Power Near-IR
- Commercial Laser Power Meters
- Coherent LaserCheck Hand-Held Laser Power Meter
- Repair of the Coherent LaserCheck
- Crash and Reboot of Coherent LaserCheck
- Coherent FieldMaster Laser Power and Energy Meter
- Spiricon MPE-2500 Laser Power and Energy Meter
- Newport Model 820 Laser Power Meter
- Sensor for a UDT Instruments Model 351 Power Meter
- Scientech Thermal Laser Power and Energy Meters
- EG&G Model 460-1A Laser Power Meter
- UDT Sensors Photops Photodiode/Preamp Hybrids
- Spectra-Physics Model 405 Pyroelectric Laser Power Meter
- Sper Scientific Model 840011 Pocket Laser Power Meter
- About Those IR Indicator Cards
- Gain, Stability, Efficiency, Life, FB versus DFB Laser
- Factors Affecting Laser Resonator Performance
- Common Laser Resonator Configurations
- Resonator Gain and Losses
- Resonator Stability
- Cavity Extension/FSR Reduction using Faraday Rotator
- Cavity Length Versus TEM00 Power
- Q Factor and Finesse of a Laser Resonator
- Laser System Efficiency
- Laser System Life
- Difference between Fabry-Perot and DFB lasers
- Ring Lasers
- What is Spatial Hole Burning?
- How to Determine Possible Lasing Wavelengths of a Laser Cavity
- Determining which Spectral Lines will Lase
- Changes to Spectra When Lasing is Present
- The Single Pass Gain Test
- Performing the Single Pass Gain Test
- Laser Relaxation Oscillations
- Pulsed/Average Power, Q-Switching, Ultra-Short Pulse Lasers
- Average Power from Pulsed Laser
- What is Q-Switching?
- Ultra-Short Pulse Lasers
- Air Breakdown
- Laser Optics
- Mirrors used for Lasers and Laser Applications
- Estimating Dielectric Mirror Spectral Reflectivity
- Commercial Laser Mirrors
- Melles Griot Laser Cavity Mirrors
- Spectra-Physics Laser Cavity Mirrors
- Adjustable Laser Mirror Mounts
- Mirrors for Ultra-Short Pulses
- Radioactive Laser Mirrors?
- Wavelength Selective Filters
- Neutral Density Filters
- What is a Brewster Window?
- George's Comments on Brewster Windows
- Index of Refraction and Brewster Angles for Various Materials
- Polarizing Materials and Optics
- Phil's Comments on Polarization
- Effects of Reflection on Polarization
- What is a Waveplate?
- Summary of Waveplate Behavior
- Adjustable QWP and HWP Waveplate Setup:
- Optical Isolators
- What is an Etalon?
- Perpendicular Uncoated Windows in a Low Gain Laser
- Why Laser Optics Collect Loads of Dust
- Variable Reflectance, Peak Wavelength, or Attenuation Using Dielectric Mirrors
- Comments on Optics for CW and Pulsed Lasers
- Laser Wavelengths
- Wavelengths of Some Common Lasers
- Dye Laser Dyes and Peak Emission Wavelengths
- What Determines the Wavelength of a Laser?
- Determining the Wavelength of a Laser
- Using a Diffraction Grating to Check Laser Wavelength(s)
- The Iodine Vapor Cell Wavelength Reference
- Spectral Differences Based on Isotope
- Wavelength versus Frequency
- Laser Visibility and Color
- Relative Visibility of Light at Various Wavelengths
- Comments on Beam Visibility
- Color Versus Wavelength
- Matching RGB Values to Wavelength
- Reproducing Visible Spectra
- Comments on Various Color Lasers
- Why Skyward-Directed Laser Beams Appear to Terminate in Mid-Air
- Using a Laser Pointer to Find Objects in the Night Sky
- Laser Beam Spectral and Other Effects
- Fluorescence in Common Materials
- Laser Light Reflects as Different Color(s)
- Laser Darkens Luminous Sign?
- The Bursting Balloon Inside a Balloon Trick
- Speckle, Coherence, Stability, Polarization, Noise
- What is Laser Speckle?
- Laser Speckle from Laser Pointer and Candle?
- Controlling Laser Speckle
- Reducing Laser Speckle in an Imaging System
- Comments on Spatial and Temporal Coherence
- Determining Coherence Length
- Testing a Laser for Single Frequency Operation
- Laser Instability
- Amplitude Noise
- Beam Collimation, Divergence, Focus
- How the Beam Diameter Varies with Distance
- Rayleigh Length
- What is M-Square (M2)?
- Modifying or Improving Collimation
- Problems with Laser Beam Divergence or Focus
- More on Laser Collimation and Focus
- Some Rules-of-Thumb for Spot Size and Divergence
- Coupling a Laser Beam into an Optical Fiber
- Laser Beam Profiles, Cleanup
- About Gaussian Beam Profiles
- Forcing a Laser to Produce a TEM00 Beam
- Possible Causes of Interference Patterns in Laser Beam
- Laser Beam Cleanup - the Spatial Filter
- More on Spatial Filters
- Laser Beam Splitting and Combining
- Splitting a Multiline Beam into its Individual Colors
- Combining Light from Multiple Lasers
- Heterodyning of Two Single Frequency Lasers
- Diffraction Gratings, Pattern Generation
- Diffraction Gratings
- Use of a CD, CDROM, CD-R, or DVD Disc as a Diffraction Grating
- Ken's CD and Other Diffractions Grating Tricks
- What About the Diffraction Grating in Optical Pickups?
- Cleaning Diffraction Gratings
- Generating Lines or Crosses of Light
- Projecting a 1-D or 2-D Grid of Dots or Lines
- Diffractive Pattern Generating Optics
- Additional Comments on Diffractive Pattern Generating Optics and DOEs in General
- Pattern Generation Using Conventional Optics
- Modulation and Deflection
- Acousto-Optic Modulators and Deflectors
- Testing a Surplus AOM
- The Dual Channel Xerox AOM
- Is There a Laser with Full Spectrum Wavelength Modulation?
- Full Color Modulation - The PCAOM
- Kerr Cell, Pockel's Cell, and Photo-Elastic Modulators
- Inexpensive Compact Piezo Modulator
- Spatial Light Modulators
- Comments on Mechanical Deflection
- Comments on High Speed Line and Raster Scanning
- The Photoelastic Modulator (PEM)
- Other Types of Lasers and Related Devices
- What About All Those Other Types of Lasers?
- How to Tell if It is a Laser?
- Whatever Happened to Masers?
- Excimer Lasers
- X-Ray Lasers
- Free Electron Lasers
- Optical Parametric Oscillators
- TEA HeNe or Ion Lasers?
- Titanium:Sapphire Lasers
- Raman Lasers
- Alkali Lasers
- Chemical Lasers
- Laser Myths and Fantasies
- Introduction to Laser Myths and Fantasies
- Some Common Myths of High Energy Weapons
- The Light Saber
- Laser Humor
- Introduction to Laser Humor
- The Ultimate Laser Pen
- Advertising using a Laser - On the Moon
- How Much Optical Power to Zap a Balloon or Bug?
- Phaser Quality Control
- Killing Flies (or Other Things) the Hard Way
- The High Tech Fly Immobilizer
- The Laser Physicist's Dictionary
- So You Think You Want to be an Optical (or Laser) Engineer
- How's This for a Useless Patent?
- Strange and Weird Things to do with a Laser
- What's in a Name?
- Tea Laser
- Victorian Nitrogen Laser
- Technopagan Blessing for a New HeNe Laser
- Using a HeNe Laser to Fix a Pitchfork
- Lasers in Movies (and TV)
- Assorted Photos and Cartoons
Laser Based Instruments and Applications