There are four key elements to get right when you make your own laser

There are 4 main elements that are required to start the generation of light and make your own laser; the gain medium, the pumping energy, cavity reflections and the output coupler:

The gain medium: To make your own laser, you need a source of light at the required wavelength known as the gain medium. Examples would include a crystal which has been doped with an associated material to provide the given wavelength.  Neodymium is used to replace some of the Yttrium ions in the host crystal thus providing light with a wavelength of 1064 nm in the infrared. Both the host and the dopant are carefully selected to obtain a required optical, mechanical and thermal property.

The pumping energy: There is normally a secondary light source you need when looking at how to make a laser. In older technology this could have been an arc lamp. In today’s lasers it tends to be a diode bank. The gain medium would be capable of absorbing this light source in one of two ways; side pumped and or end pumped. This pumping/absorption process starts the whole amplification cycle of the laser.

Cavity reflections: In order to optimise the overall process of building a laser, you need to add reflectors to either end of your stimulation to capture the excited photons and return them back to your gain medium to further create additional stimulation.

Output coupler: This device allows a percentage of light reflection back to the gain medium and a percentage to be extracted from the optical resonator (the gain medium).

You now have laser light being generated and contained.

Laser beam: The light source created and released as described becomes your laser beam. Now all you have to do is generate sufficient light and then control it so that it will do something useful, like mark, cut, weld, repair or build.

Here’s a Laser Rail we put together earlier

If only it were that easy! There are other areas that would need to be considered when building your own laser. With the potential to create very large amounts of energy comes the large amount of associated heat. Lasers like to have their environment controlled, I guess a bit like most of us. So you may have to add water cooling, providing you with better control over the laser stability. You will at some point need to add in an optical device so you can point the laser beam to the target area. Finally, you will need a computer and software to control the optics in order to create something useful at the workplace.

So that’s how to build your own laser…easy.

ThinkLaser build lasers for marking and engraving. You can speak to an expert today on [email protected] or fill in a form now to find out how we can help.

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