Picture of How to build a T.E.A. Laser
A TEA Laser is Nitrogen Laser that operates at standard pressure and temperature. In fact, many operate using normal air which is over 75% N2. Normal air has a property known as super radiance. This means that air can produce a laser beam without bouncing light with mirrors that most lasers require. This fact saves us much time and money. Now, before we start let me give you the needed warnings. First, this laser outputs light in the UV range. This can be very dangerous for your eyes. UV protecting sunglasses can help save your eyes. Furthermore, this project uses high voltages and charged capacitors when operating. Read the High Voltage guide from the laser cutter contest for safety information and how to generate the voltage needed. I would also like to say that I figured out how to build this laser by reading many very helpful websites for the past 3 weeks. A quick search of "TEA Laser" will find most of them. I am merely assimilating this information and adding my experience as I go. I have understood laser theory for a long time but this is the first practical laser design I have worked with.

Alright, lets get started building the laser. The second file is a schematic of sorts detailing the laser
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Step 1: The electrodes

Picture of The electrodes

This is the most important part of the laser. Find some small strips of very straight metal. shorter strips will be easier to use later. I used some small pieces from an old erector set. Use electrical tape to make handles as the picture shows.

Step 2: The base

Picture of The base

find a sturdy base to build your laser on. it should be similar in width to the rails and and about 1.5 - 2.5 times longer. Sand this smooth so that it won't damage any parts.

Step 3: Capacitor ground plate

Picture of capacitor ground plate

Now you will need to cut a piece of aluminum foil slightly smaller than the base. Use super glue in one corner so that it won't slide around. This will serve as the bottom half of the 2 capacitors this laser uses.
makdef1 year ago
yeah! rule the world is the mest part! hahahahaaa!
nathanielg3 years ago
nice use of an erector set
megapix3 years ago
I love the simplicity of the design. Many years ago I tried to build one of these from a Scientific American article, but got hung up on the difficulty of getting pure nitrogen gas (I was just a kid then). Using plain air, with no enclosure... can't get much more basic than that. Nice job.
Couple of pointers

The Rails need to be SUPER smooth and Super Parallel. Any unevenness or sharp points will cause the discharge to concentrate instead of spreading allong the length of the cavity.

Use multiple layers of plastic in your Dielectric. This way any weak spots in one layer are less likely to line up in another layer. Two or three thin layers are better than one thick one.

The Washing Powder trick is a good one, as is the Highlighter ink. You can extract highlighter ink and I have heard of it being used as a Lasing medium in itself with this type of UV laser as a PUMP.

Good luck with your experiments and DO take care with High Voltage and High Energy experiments, especially as this machine emits a highly concentrated beam of INVISIBLE radiation.
woody1233 years ago
Nice 'ible!
i really want to try this.
they made one of these on a bbc program called bang goes the theory, they showed the UV beam by using washing powder (used to make white clothes fluoress and look really white) in a tank of water, so when the beam passed through the tanks it glowed and showed a beam as visible light.