Monday, November 14, 2005
More Lab Pictures
This is a seventies era argon ion laser. You can just about see the orange case at the bottom, even though the cover is off. We were told to figure out if it would still work. The first time it was tested (Ken and I were safely in Europe, fortunately) it blew a fuse.
The fuses are those white cylinders sitting horizontally in the middle. They're bigger than a roll of quarters, maybe the size of a roll of half-dollars. The blue cylinders at the top are capacitors as big around as my forearm. I can't remember how many thousands of volts I was told this thing needed for initial discharge, unfortunately. It was a really impressive number.
Looks like it works. But those are some weird error messages... Turn it off!
Liquid nitrogen is less dangerous. The thing it's spraying from is an ion pump, for the vaccuum system. Liquid nitrogen cools parts of this thing, and then the rubidium vapor condenses on them, like water condensing on the inside of your car windows when they're cold. This gives a higher vacuum. Or so I'm told.
This was sent with one of our orders from Thorlabs. They are now my favorite optics company.