Instructables
Picture of Laser Pointer Amplifier
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        Everybody would like a laser pointer that can burn through stuff. The problem is that lasers like this are very expensive. My prototype may or may not be able to achieve that but if you invested enough money into it, achieving brag-worthy lasers is definitely possible. 
        My laser amplifier prototype design can make lasers brighter and stronger and is certainly a fun project to build. Nobody can deny that amplifying a laser is amazingly cool. Plus with this type of project you can always invest more money and time in it to tweak out the glitches to make it better and better. Laser projects are very facinating and tend to spark new and better laser project ideas.
        WARNING: I am not responsible for any damage caused by this device. Lasers can damage the eyes and possibly cause permanent blindness so always keeep laser away from face and wear proper eye protection.

 

 
 
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Step 1: Gathering the Parts

Picture of Gathering the Parts
       You will need several parts and tools for this project.
PARTS: plywood, nails or screws, mirrors, metal or wood dowels, laser pointer, lasing medium(look it up online if you don't know what  I'm talking about, crystal or glass mediums work best), a couple rubber bands, 4 brad nails, and a short string of white Christmas lights.
 TOOLS: glass cutter, hot glue gun, drill, pliers, masking tape or stapler, pencil, saw, wood glue, and a ruler.

Step 2: Planning and Preparing

Picture of Planning and Preparing
     Cut a 6" by 1'6" piece of plywood and draw out a setup of the mirrors on the wood like shown above. Make sure there is at least 1.5" on either side of your drawing. Make holes big enough for your dowels to fit into where you marked out spots for the mirrors. Cut out 1" by 1" mirrors from your mirror using a glass cutter. Cut your dowels into 2" pieces. Use hot glue to attach a dowel to the center of each mirror, put each of these into the already drilled holes in your plywood.
LaserDave2 years ago
Nice effort with your project. My only comment would be that the title should be changed so that people won't go through the time and expense building such a device when it has absolutely no chance of doing what is claimed.

I understand that you wanted to put this together to compete in a contest and that you were pressed for time, but that doesn't make it work nor does it make it fair for people expecting it to. Perhaps a more accurate title might be "Laser Pointer Amplifier Simulation Concept", since the output power will most certainly be less than you put in.

It's good to see you are interested in lasers and I encourage learning all you can about them. Maybe a good demo might be to dissect a small green laser, mount all of the components on a board and get that to lase. I think you'd be surprised at how precise the alignment must be for it to work, but it might well be worth the exercise. Use a camera/monitor arrangement to see the invisible IR energy to do your alignment, and don't forget to use goggles.
spikec2 years ago
Dude I commend you for your efforts and that's a cool looking box you got there, but you cannot just "add" energy from the christmas lights to the laser beam. Tiny incandescent bulbs are a far cry from the flash lamp setup at the National Ignition facility...

Here's a primer on coherence that explains the science behind it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherent_light

You can build a cheap laser burner out a dvd or cd burner diode, which can be setup to output far more wattage than your typical off the shelf laser pointer. There are plenty of stuff out there on how to do it both here and on LPF...

Also, here's an instructable that will help you make some suitable mirrors for your laser work:

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-front-surface-mirror.-1/
To spikec thank you for the complement. I was really shooting more towards just the concept and assuming that anyone on this website could figure out a way to make this better.
To hivoltage i would like to see you come up with all these lab grade materials in a day or two. Even if you worked at a lab you would still have to order the parts. And by the way, even though christmas lights don't produce as much light as flash lamps they still produce enough light to excite some of the atoms in lasing medium like Yttrium Aluminum Garnet crystals, Neodymium ion-doped glass,etc. I wasn't looking to shoot a plane out of the stratoshere, just looking to put the concept out there and you can't say my concept isn't absolutely right. I mean just read my May 2, 2011 comment and read the June 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics and it literally shows my basic concept on paper.
Solion3 years ago
I am afraid that the physical properties of light do not work like this. while you can collimate a laser into a smaller spot for high concentration of energy over the area of that spot, adding reflectors in a lit box will not amplify anything . in fact you will loose some energy in each bounce because of refraction. your mirrors are not first surface types.

Now had you taken a green laser .......
My materials weren't exactly top notch and I really needed some sort of lasing medium for it to work properly. I was short of these materials only for time reasons. These lights were meant for the proper function of the lasing medium but using just the mirrors has some light bounce into where the laser beam is. So this means you can definitelyspend more time and money on it to get better lasing medium, mirrors, lasers, and lights( lab-grade lasers use flashtubes to add light to the lasing medium)
building a flash lamp lasing cavity to pump a solid state laser and bouncing a laser pointer through a box full of Christmas lights are entirely different things. any light from the bulbs inside the box will not be coherent and will not able to amplify the laser since it is not in phase. lasing mediums work by creating a population inversion and allowing light already resonating in the cavity to trigger the release of further energy by the excited atoms, allowing all the added light to be in phase. plain glass is not a workable lasing medium because it doesn't have the right properties to allow a population inversion to occur, and light bulbs are nowhere near powerful enough to pump any kind of lasing medium.
I actually just read an article about plans for nuclear fusion in the June 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. In order for fusion to occur a tremendous amount of energy must be focused on a capsule of hydrogen fuel to achieve basically creating a miniature sun. Powerful lasers are used to do this but must be amplified to achieve the needed power. The lasers pass through amplifiers that are made of lasing medium like phosphate glass which is doped with neodymium surrounded by powerful flashlamps. The light from the flashlamps excites the neodymium atoms and passes on that energy to the laser beam passing through the amplifier. A bunch of amplifiers are set up and a mirror system is used for directing the beam through the amplifiers. This basic setup is to be used to amplify the lasers to a quadrillion times its original power to attempt nuclear fusion.
i think a couple neon lights or noble gas lights would make it really powerful
Lasing medium is used in the making of lasers and the basic principle of the lasing medium is that when it is exposed to bright light it absorbs some of this light and adds it to the laser as it passes through. Therefor the brighter the light around the lasing medium the better the function. I found some info on a powerful lab-grade laser and they built the lasing medium with flashtubes around it, but neon or noble gas light would probably work better than the Christmas lights I used.
russ_hensel3 years ago
Have you measured the power gain? Or estimated it?
As I have said I was a little short on time only because I found out about the wicked lasers contest only a week before it ended.
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