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Thread: Argon Looks Like a He-Ne

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Mesa, AZ

    Default Argon Looks Like a He-Ne

    I was poking around in the basement of an old building for nearly an hour before seeing the nose of this beauty way back on a corner shelf. I had to climb over construction materials to get to it. As soon as I saw it had no shutter in front of the output coupler, I knew I was in for a big treat. It's a c1969 TRW Instruments model 83A pulsed argon ion laser, with its power supply! I thought it was a he-ne at first, and now the Aerosmith song is stuck in my head whenever I see it.

    According to its introduction in The Laser Weekly (11 Aug 1969 p5), it features a cold cathode, 5W with multimode mirrors, and 1.6W with single mode mirrors. Pulse length is 6 microseconds, rep rate is 60 pps, and tube life quoted at 500 hours or one year. The head is 3.75" diameter, 32" long and weighs 12 pounds. The power supply is 5x6.5x8" with a leather handle, and weighs 7 pounds. It's really tempting to pull the tube out, but I'm not going to. I'll wait at least until I have space for it behind glass.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Eidetic; 04-06-2016 at 17:32.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Tampa Florida


    That is a cool old laser. No attempt to power up right? Even a few mW would be awesome.
    Phil Bergeron( AKA 142laser)

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