My Dorkbot DC cohort Jon Singer sent me a link to a webpage of a buddy of his, a Croatian laser-hacker, who grew his own KDP (Monopotassium phosphate) crystals for use in a Nd:YAG laser. He had a time getting the crystals to grow, but was able to finally get some suitable growth and to find the right angle and alignment to get decent SHG and a pretty green beam. Apparently, this is not commonly and easily done with KDP, so it’s a bit of a triumph on this fellow’s part.

Homegrown KDP crystal and successful SHG attempt [Thanks, Jon!]

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • Sean Ragan

    As anyone who’s ever tried to do it can attest, growing large flawless crystals is rather more art than science. Of course, different compounds crystallize differently, and are wildly varying in their tendency to form crystals. Biochemists, particularly, learn to appreciate profound feats of crystallization. Folks who determine protein structures commonly spend millions of dollars and decades of effort to produce a single tiny crystal suitable for X-ray diffraction. KDP is relatively simple to crystallize, but achieving size and quality requires prolonged and very careful control of environmental conditions, primarily temperature. Which is all the more impressive on a low-cost scale.

    • Milan Karakas

      Thank you Sean for very nice comment. I will try to grow even better and bigger KDP crystal. Currently I’m just gathering knowledge how to do it correctly. Growing crystals is really easy, but growing single crystal with near perfect optical properties is not so easy task. I will do my best.