Abstract

The helium–neon (HeNe) laser used to be a staple in every industrial or university lab having anything to do with photonics, as well as in numerous commercial products such as barcode scanners. They are now less common but still essential for many areas of research and education, and may turn up without any documentation. This paper describes an interesting experience of attempting to operate a HeNe laser without any prior information about its input–output specifications. A HeNe tube was encapsulated in a plastic cover with a copper-foil-wrapped power supply jack attached to it. It was like an optoelectronic gadget without any mention of its operating instructions, wiring, or power requirements. This HeNe laser was investigated as part of a research methods course case study. One week’s testing and investigation led us to conclude that the plasma tube was either defective due to mirror misalignment or internal contamination. As a result of this troubleshooting experience, a well-engineered investigation procedure was developed for testing HeNe lasers. A systematic approach helped to prioritize investigation of mirror alignment, mirror coating damage, possible debris inside the cavity, and power supply problems. General guidelines as well as this specific diagnostic experience can be very useful for laser technicians and engineers.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

Full Article  |  PDF Article
OSA Recommended Articles
A Helium–Neon Laser Amplifier

L. E. S. Mathias and N. H. Rock
Appl. Opt. 4(1) 133-135 (1965)

Frequency Stabilization of Internal-Mirror Helium–Neon Lasers

R. Balhorn, H. Kunzmann, and F. Lebowsky
Appl. Opt. 11(4) 742-744 (1972)

Helium–neon laser stabilized on iodine: design and performance

W. Tuma and C. J. van der Hoeven
Appl. Opt. 14(8) 1896-1897 (1975)

References

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Citation lists with outbound citation links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Cited By

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Cited by links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Figures (11)

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Figure files are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Tables (2)

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Article tables are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Equations (4)

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Equations are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Metrics

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Article level metrics are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription