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Laser Optics Test Bench Complete

ISE has completed work on our laser optics test bench. The focal point is our newly built one-watt Class IV 655nm continuous wave (CW) laser capable of high levels of visible illumination and particle scatter in our laboratory research.

Our big scary laser, besides being used for holography experiments, the study of various gas transition phases under examination in the lab, and the detection of damage in specially and generally orthotropic composites, has the uncanny ability to burn through gloved hands, ignite dark objects, ruin digital cameras if not properly positioned, heat water, and oh yes, blind you instantly. Needless to say, an entire set of safety protocols and interlocks has been incorporated into the design to keep the experiments safe. Despite this, we've been having a lot of fun tinkering around with it and figuring out ways to incorporate it into different research projects.

Up until about a decade ago, a one-watt CW laser would have been confined only to the largest research complexes or university settings. Hat's off to the inventor of the laser diode. The photo, done for visual effect, shows the effect of the laser being shined lengthwise through a simple glass prism.