I wanted to write a bit about the TEA N2 laser was provided to me by a good friend back from when I was heavily into the laser hobby and followed the hobby laser community much more, such groups as Photonics Lab Online, Lasergrowers and alt.lasers. Now that I am picking things back up it will is somewhat high on my priority list of things to do and projects to get back up and running.
I don’t have a lot of details about this TEA nitrogen laser or it’s design so it is going to take a little bit of reverse engineering to discover how it was originally intended to work. I haven’t diagrammed the attached circuitry and circuit board yet, however it does not look too complex.
Most of the capacitors in this unit are rated at 20kv and the Thyratron is rated for 18kV max at a peak anode current of 1000 amps. The high voltage feed had a fairly high wattage resistor on it (the yellow object seen in the photos). Apparently the firing of this laser is done via a Thyratron, as you can see in the photo the specific model is the HY-1102 from EG&G. I’ve included the basic spec sheet in the gallery if you would like to check them out. I want to get this laser going, but I don’t know of my time frame.
This nitrogen laser is built on an aluminum base plate. The internal edges of the electrodes have been machined to a rounded edge where they face each other. This was good to see as I don’t have the facilities to fabricate this style of electrode myself, and my previous N2 laser used thin, straight edge electrodes which I wasn’t too happy with.
I suspect that due to the Thyratron triggering mechanism that this will be a pretty quiet laser when up and running. I do not know what kind of repetition rate I can expect from this design and the components used but I’m hoping it will be fairly decent and allow me to get into some dye cell pumping experiments and other things of that nature.
I need to come up with a high voltage power supply for this laser, but I don’t think that will be too hard to do. There is a great diversity of high voltage power supplies available if you just do a little bit of research. Everything from ‘Electronic Sign Ballasts’ (modern equivalent of a neon sign transformer) to Neon Sign Transformers or commercial high voltage supplies are available and if you’re resourceful you can make your own with flyback transformers from televisions or monitors and a few extra components. I am fortunate in that the filament transformer for the thyratron was included as well, but I don’t know where it is since I have moved. Hopefully it was not discarded with the pre-move thinning out of surplus components!
As usual, click on the image in the gallery and use the arrow buttons in the bottom right of the viewer to switch through images.