My friend Jon Singer has been experimenting with creating a relatively-cheap, straightforward flashlamp-pumped dye laser. This first-blush version uses caps he bought on eBay. As he refines the design, he hopes to avoid as many commercial components as possible. This proof-of-concept build was attempting to answer the musical question: Is a dozen Joules enough to threshold a dye? Answer: yes.

Toward a Straightforward DIY Flashlamp-Pumped Organic Dye Laser — Step 1, First Proof of Principle: A Minimalist Machine


Jon also recently called me, excited, ’cause he’d managed to get three dyes to oscillate in the same cuvette to create RGB laser light! The guy’s a monster. Half the time, I don’t really understand what he’s talking about, but I always feel smarter for having done so. See his “RGB ‘White’ Dye Laser Light from a Single Cuvette” research report here.

Homegrown laser crystals
El cheapo mirror mounts

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.

  • Robotguy

    It’s a LASER BEAM, Bozo!

    I figure we can extract at least ten to the twenty-first photons per cubic centimeter which will give one kilojoule per cubic centimeter at 600 nanometers, or, one megajoule per liter.

    Hey Ick, you were just kidding about exploding, right? Ick? It’s a joke, right?