Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Argon Laser!

The boss was cleaning out a closet at work and was about to toss an old dental curing light into the trash until I spotted it and rescued it.  It was a LaserMed Accucure 3000.  When I got it home I opened it up to see why a dental curing light would use a fiberoptic wand and would weigh about 20 lbs.  I was expecting a high pressure arc lamp and some filters, but to my pleasant surprise, it contained an Argon laser tube!  Woohoo!

I plugged it in and flipped the power switch.  It lit right up!  Double Woohoo!

Here's a peak inside the curing light.  I was expecting a high pressure arc lamp and filter, but nooooo, it uses a LaserPhysics Reliany 300b argon laser tube!

The output is a pretty blue green color.  I blasted it through a diffraction grating and found 6 lines- 3 distinctly blue and 3 more green than blue.

When I first turned it on and checked the output power using the built in power meter it was reading about 80 mW out.  I did some reading and found that argon lasers like to be operated occasionally to keep the power level up, so I've let the thing run for 10 minutes at a time a few times in the last couple weeks and now the power output is up to about 120 mW.  This thing is incredibly inefficient- it takes about 1kW from the power line to produce about 0.0001 kW out!

I'm looking for info on the tube- it's a LaserPhysics Reliant 300b- so far web searches come up empty.  If you have info I'd love to see it.

Now I have to decide what to do with it.  Someone at the makerspace has some mirrors mounted on galvanometers...