What determines the max output of a Nitrogen TEA laser?

I was thinking about building a TEA laser, using nitrogen from the air. Like many others, I want it to have a really high (peak) output level (high enough to ionise air).
What's the limiting factor for the amount of power I can put into it? Does the air "saturate" or something when there's too much current going between the electrodes?
How come you can't connect it directly to the HV power source, but you have to have a spark gap/capacitor to fire it? So would it work on AC?


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iceng5 years ago
You make glowing energy orbs with concentrated microwaves.

I recall someone abusing a household microwave oven to produce
these short termed orbs.

lemonie5 years ago
Why were you thinking about this / what would you use it for?

.Unknown. (author)  lemonie5 years ago
I really wanted to make those glow-y plasma balls in the air

Thanks for the link. So, am I right in saying that it has to be very short pulses of electricity?
That's a detailed article by someone who built one. If you like plasmas, there are other (easier) ways to make them. Have you looked at "high voltage"?

iceng5 years ago
You want to ionize the lasing medium.
That is cross wise thinking
To use the lasing energy to form air plasma you must store the output
TEA to amass a great number of photons to then be simultaneously
released.  A form of storage as Steve points out on the power supply end.

Further problems , that arises the the question of coupling the phonic
energy to which diatomic gas you hope to ionize Oor N2 in order to strip
its outer electrons.   You realize the photon wavelength is very pacific

On the other hand if all you want is a plasma,ie ions, just make this device no lasing involved..

.Unknown. (author)  iceng5 years ago
Aah.. I see. So I guess then it would be pretty difficult to achieve glowing orbs of plasma in the air with just a cheaply made TEA laser then?
Given the actual end-to-end efficiency of TEA, you probably can't get too high a peak power off the mains grid, unless you have insane amounts of storage.