My Projects: Power Supplies and Nitrogen Lasers

Here are some photos of me and my work. You can click any of the small images to see a larger one.

Here is one of my TEA nitrogen lasers. First an overview, then the laser with its beam showing on a fluorescent card, and finally the laser firing through a glass containing a solution of a fluorescent dye.


This is my electronic power supply. It was designed by Milan Karakas. First an overview of the supply, then a closer look with a spark jumping between the electrodes:


This is my motorized electrostatic laser power source. Included is a small hand driven machine, on the right, for comparison.

The machine is pictured inside while stationary and outside while running, and then there’s a closeup of a spark between the output terminals. (Sorry about the focus.) Notice the 12 volt battery jump box used as a power source for the small electric motor. This is the same 12 volt power source used for the ignition-coil-based HV supply.

It is worth mentioning a significant difference between the two power supplies. The coil only becomes usable when a HV rectifier is included. The electronics are touchy and do not have a long life span. The electrostatic source, on the other hand, is electrically rugged because it is immune to spikes and other forms of electrical damage that sometimes result when a laser fires. The electrostatic supply also generates a pure and rich source of DC (no need to worry about rectification). The only downside is the much lower charging current available when compared with a conventional power supply.


These next three pictures show the simple and common supplies I use to make a good TEA laser, a close up of the electrode profile I have designed, and a view of the overall laser when assembled.

Notice that the ‘round’ profile electrodes are just steel rods soldered to the edges of flat steel plates.


These pictures show a TERP (Transversely Excited Reduced Pressure) nitrogen laser I’m building. The first two are of the actual head, and the third one shows the partially completed end pieces (one already fitted with a hose barb) and the aspirator pump.


The next two pictures illustrate the huge difference in output power between air (on the left) and nitrogen (on the right). Air is a good test gas for your laser, because it is very difficult to get a clean discharge in it, but it’s a lousy laser gas because if there is more than about 0.5% oxygen in the gas mixture, it poisons the laser. (If you didn’t already know this, about 20% of the air is oxygen.)


There is more information about my initial work with dye lasers on this page.


Contact Information

You can reach me at an email address that you construct from the following three gmail pieces: com, along with jarrod694. (I don’t offhand know whether that’s enough to prevent robots from harvesting the@address.and making spam from it, but I certainly hope so.)

Last modified: Fri Aug 18 10:21:08 EDT 2006