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Thread: Trying to Identify This Laser

  1. #1
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    Default Trying to Identify This Laser

    I picked this beast up at a college auction here in Oklahoma (OSU). It is missing most of the cover and does not have any identifying marks. There are a couple of broken tubes and most of the components seem to date back to the late '80s. It did have a card on it from Professor Daniel Grischkowsky, who was a professor at the university but is now retired. I was unable to reach him by email.

    I joined the forum to see if there is anyone here who could recognize what this might be, or who could give me some information. According to the auction notes, the laser has been "disabled" prior to sale. It is such a beautiful piece of equipment however that I do not want to start removing components before knowing more details on what it is and what it was used for.

    The unit is about 14ft long and is extremely heavy. Any information or pointers from this community would be welcomed! I am uploading multiple photos for a detailed view from several angles.


    Thank you
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  2. #2
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    ... hmmm ... maybe something like a "multifold" excimer laser? -- looks pretty "scary"

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  3. #3
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    It looks like a folded cavity CO2 laser; I can't quite tell from the images, are the long tubes coaxial with a small tube inside a larger tube? If so, that's the plasma tube surrounded by a water cooling jacket. If it is CO2 then the output power will be very high and the operating voltage similarly high. I'm sure somebody will recognise this beast (Steve?).

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the quick responses. Yes, they are coaxial I believe with the small tube inside the larger tube. From what I can see online, Professor Grischkowski devoted a large portion of his career to pioneering and researching Ultrafast Terahertz frequencies. I really would like to locate him to speak to him directly, but as he has been retired for a number of years that may prove difficult.

  5. #5
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    It is almost certainly a v-fold co2 laser with ~1kw output power. I don't recognize that tube in particular, but the central core is just a mechanical structure and the beam bounces through the glass tubes. I think there are some videos on youtbe or sams laser faq of them in operation---they look like something out of an '80s scifi movie

    edit- found the video I was thinking of. Not sure if it is the exact laser but seems pretty close
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1jbxswJhGY

    and another show a system that is running
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WPEua2MErU
    Last edited by krazer; 05-20-2019 at 18:10.

  6. #6
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    I just saw a recent video of that laser running in England so itís not that dated. I did not recall what it was about. If he was working in the thz range I wonder if there is some non linear crystal driven by this to produce the short thz pulses. Should have some form of pockel cell or Kerr in the crystal. I bet you donít have his full setup and given the wavelength think itís a military application to detect materials through buildings or such. Sort of xray lidar with spectroscopy built in. Hope you have a really solid electrical connection and big pocket book if you want to run it. It may also need some secret sauce gases to run it. As well as special optics. More a display piece to make the neighbors nervous.

  7. #7
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    That design was popular in Europe from several manufacturers. Ferranti (long out of business) springs to mind, but more then one company made a similar design. One in the UK and one in Germany. Maybe Trumpf or Haas. It is a folded flowing gas Co2. 500-1000 Watts or so. From what I remember from 80s trade magazines, you just have the laser head and no additional experimental gear for Terra anything in the picture. . I looked for the web page for the other one in the wild in the UK, and it is down. UPDATE OK, so Mike made a video and took the page down. Working at a university, I just can't see another university letting a 28KV, 1 Amp DC power supply escape in a working order, except to some one who was a "good friend" with the ability to handle the danger and liability. So you can bet it is De-milled". How well it is damaged depends on the tech, grad student, or professor, safety officer, or shipping dock guy who did it.


    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-21-2019 at 05:32.
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  8. #8
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    Thank you everyone for the input and help with identification. I do not think that I really have any hope or intention of ever actually firing this up. It has a couple of broken tubes and I do not have the main cabinet, just the head. So it would be way to costly if not nearly impossible for me to actually power it up without some sort of help from someone with more specified experience. It does look like some sort of thing that you would see used as a movie prop, or like something from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" or "Star Wars". I guess I could strip it down for components, but it seems like such a shame to do that. Unfortunately it takes up a lot of space in my warehouse...

    I tossed around the idea of cleaning it up, incorporating some neon or LED lighting and encasing it in a big see-through conference table. It was sort of an impulse buy at the auction... it looked really cool and I was intrigued I guess.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AspenGrove View Post
    It was sort of an impulse buy at the auction...
    Haha, we've all been there. I've got a workshop full of impulse buys
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.Ē... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  10. #10
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    If those cabinets at the front of the trailer are the power supplies, they may be worth some $$$ to some one. Or.... you could make one heck of a bug zapper.

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