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Sam's Laser F A Q

    One of the best resources of technical information on all types of laser and laser construction is Sam's Laser FAQ. Sam's Laser FAQ has by far the largest collection of information on home-built lasers in addition to general laser info. Chapters on ALL of the Scientific American lasers as well as pulsed lasers, DPSS lasers, and more! This page is an introduction and gateway to Sam's Laser FAQ

Billed as "A Practical Guide to Lasers for Experimenters and Hobbyists" the FAQ was created over many years of work by Samuel M. Goldwasser.  The FAQ is a collection of documents that has a great deal of practical information on a variety of laser related topics. Sam's Laser FAQ provides a wealth of useful (not just textbook) information on many types of lasers of interest to the experimenter and hobbyist:

  • Basic laser principles, laser safety, general laser information, laser instruments and applications, laser and parts sources, laser discussion groups and newsgroups, and many references, and links. There is even a list of laser experiments and projects. 
  • Diode, Helium-Neon (HeNe), Argon/Krypton (Ar/Kr) Ion, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Helium-Cadmium (HeCd), and solid state (SS) laser characteristics, drive requirements, power supply design considerations. Schematics for at least 15 diode laser drivers, 30 complete HeNe laser power supplies, 6 complete Ar/Kr ion laser power supplies, and 6 pulsed SS laser power supplies, as well as many other support circuits like regulators and modulators.
  • Amateur laser construction (building lasers from raw materials rather than from laser components). Extensive material on getting started in this exciting and challenging pastime (often a great deal of time!) as well as complete descriptions - with diagrams - of the home-built lasers from the Scientific American "Amateur Scientist" columns (and the collection "Light and its Uses") and other sources.
Sam's Laser FAQ was developed to provide a unique resource for experimenters and hobbyists - as well as just plain old basement tinkerers. To the best of my knowledge, nothing as comprehensive has ever been available anywhere else in the explored universe (and almost certainly beyond) either on-line or in print.

A full copy of Sam's Laser FAQ is available as a .zip file for download from the Download section of the Backstage area.  This .zip file version is updated each time the FAQ is revised.

To help you hate started, here are links from the main table of contents that lead to areas of interest to laserists:

PART I - Basics, Safety, General Information, Instruments, Applications, Experiments

PART II - Print/Web Laser and Optics Resources, Laser and Parts Suppliers, Manufacturers

PART III - Lasers Based on Commercial Components - Diode, HeNe, Ion, CO2, HeCd, SS


PART IV - Lasers Constructed from Basic Materials, Hardware, Optics, and Electronic Parts

There is more information in the FAQ than is listed in this edited table of contents.  To see the full Sam's Laser FAQ from the beginning, click here.

A full copy of Sam's Laser FAQ is available as a .zip file for download from the Download section of the Backstage area.  This .zip file version is updated each time the FAQ is revised.

[ General laser FAQ | Laser show FAQ | Sam's Laser FAQ ]


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