Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lasers: Trying to be more intelligent about it

People like the laser. It looks flashy, it's very easy to use, and I might even be willing to bring it to a combat situation. So how can I make it even more kick-ass? How can I set myself up for making even bigger and badder lasers? I'll have to do this one right, no more trial and error.

I'm going to buy lenses, not just salvage them. ThorLabs seems to have a good selection and they even have special coatings for the different frequencies of light you're using (~430nm in my case).

Of course, real nice laser lenses are expensive. I don't want to buy a $3k kit of all the possible lenses and then play more trial and error. For now, let's focus on getting the right lenses, we'll deal with getting them in the perfect position later.

A normal convex lens can take an expanding beam of light and columnate it. However, with the dimensions of beam that I'm dealing with I can't find a single lens that has a focal point closer than it's diameter, which is what I need if the beam is coming out of a 1" lens and hitting a point 1" away. The best I've got there is a 12mm focal length with a 9mm diameter lens.

Instead, I'll use a concave lens to make the angle of beam more acute. It should then expand out after the focal point more slowly such that I can then use a lens to columnate it.

We'll find out.

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