This is a large solid state laser amplifier which came from some big research project. I purchased the amplifier while purchasing other surplus laser equipment up in Canada. It is a very impressive piece of laser equipment with quite a few unique and interesting design features. The guys at the border found it interesting and it took me about an hour for customs to let me go.

The amplifier consists of six oval amplifier plates approximately 4″ wide x 8″ long x 3/4″ thick.  I’m sure the actual dimensions are in metric measurements. These are mounted into a welded metal cage at opposing angles to each other through the length of the amplifier.  This assembly is surrounded by a thick glass tube, as seen in the photos. Mounted to the side aluminum covers are a total of 16 very large flash lamps, 8 per side .  They measure 48″ long and 3/4″ in diameter. One person on a laser mailing list estimated that this entire unit could see around 100,000 Joules of input energy to properly fire lamps of this size. Unfortunately it did not come with specifications, so determining possible specs is a mental exercise for those who enjoy it.


The unit was in pretty good condition and the flash lamps were also intact. Looking at it originally I thought that this unit was water cooled as it seemed to have the proper fittings. As I examined it closer I found some things which made me second guess what was used for coolant. In the base and the top there were a number of cutouts and what seemed to be some kind of sintered porous metal discs blocks inside of those holes. In addition there were no seals along the sides of the cover pieces like one might expect. I have not been able to find any additional information on this unit, other than what is presented on this page.

If you know anything about this unit, please feel free to contact me using the contact button on the left or right side of this page.  A friend was doing some research on this unit as well and discovered a photo of the Pharos III (click for pic) laser project. This type of amplifier was also used in the Shiva multi-Kj research laser.  This amplifier module looks very similar to the ones used in those project, although they used 3 or more of them  of them and of course had many ancillary systems to make the whole thing go.   The Pharos III laser produces 1500 Joules with a peak power of 5TW; the laser is used in high power laser research, ultra-high Mach-number shocks, intertially confined fusion and turbulence and to study nuclear weapons effects.

This is a photo of the Pharos III laser.

Pharos III Laser

Shiva Amplifier Chains - Public Domain Photo

Shiva Amplifier Chains – Public Domain Photo

I sold this component in a time of desperate financial need, and have regretted it ever since. It’s not often that one is able to come across a piece of equipment such as this for their own personal observation and examination. I am still glad that I was able to obtain it an examine it for the time I had it, truly a neat piece of laser history.

Solid State Laser Amplifier Slab


Giant Solid State Laser Amplifier Flash Lamp


Giant Solid State Laser Amplifier Flash Lamp


Solid State Laser Flash Lamp Part Number


Flash Lamp on High Frequency High Voltage Supply