DIY Flashlamp-pumped organic dye laser

Craft & Design Science
DIY Flashlamp-pumped organic dye laser

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

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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