Ok, let's expand a bit on this project:
As said, my main interest in this is demonstrating a CO2 gas laser that can be made in a place where resources are a little limited. Now, laser tubes aren't unobtanium. I know that. Aliexpress is there for anyone who wants one for relatively cheap and glassblowing materials aren't that fancy either, there's bunch of build logs at Sam's laser FAQ to prove that (though where I live I'd need to use fluorescent bulbs as glass tubing if I were to blow tubes) . But what if you could build a laser using stuff any small city metalworking shop has? This is the level of simplicity I want.
That's about it on the motivation side besides, of course, the usual "because I can" and "Because it's interesting".
Now some of the constraints regarding the design:
- I need to pick a metal for the electrodes that has a similar thermal expansion coefficient to that of my chosen glass formulation, otherwise the seal between the two materials will likely crack. Still regarding the seal, there are a feel promissing techniques to ensure the glass will bond to the metal including not only direct joints between the two but also the use coatings on the metal and the use of salts and oxides that have affinity for the glass and the metal as a "glue" between two that don't bond to well on their own.
- The metal must resist the plasma it'll be exposed to. Otherwise the windows could be blocked by sputtered metal from the electrodes.
- Speaking of windows, they must be made of a material that is transparent at the IR wavelenghts. Regular glass will not cut it as its transmitance drops at near IR.
Once the tube is assembled we'd have the following challenges:
- How will we pump the air out of the tube.
- What discharge mode will be used? For simplicity sake the modes used along with flowing gas are out but there are still a lot of options and the necessity to balance power output, efficiency and simplicity.
- What kind of gas formulation will be used? Just throwing CO2 and expecting it to lase is not going to work. And even if it does, how long until CO formation eventually poisons the gain media? Will the CO diffuse out and poison me? Will Jon Snow come back in the new season of GoT?
These are the main points regarding this idea in a write-up that is certainlly in not stellar form (I'm not a good writer)... Still I hope this gives a decent overall Idea.
If anything is unclear or there're any doubts, please ask.
Think of this as kindof CC-BY.
I'm not really bothering about it... use everything as you wish... but I'd appreciate if you referenced this project back when you expand upon it.