Aligning an external mirror laser

For several weeks I had a functionally dead Spectra Physics 907 laser. This was especially bad because this laser is the one I use for mastering my holograms which meant I couldn’t make anything new until it was fixed.

During those weeks I picked brains and websites far and wide and managed to get the laser lasing again (several times in fact) but couldn’t get the beam quality back the way it was before I screwed it up. I ended up enlisting the help of a local laser expert and was able to get beam power and quality back where it needed to be.

What follows is a tutorial on how to re-align an external mirror laser. Most specifically the Spectra Physics 907. I also include some tips on cleaning the mirrors and removing stuck boots.

Before I go any further I want to thank the following people:

The guys at the Holography Forum who provided suggestions for getting the beast aligned. Tony, BobH, Wler, Colin, Ron Michael, Martin, JohnFP, dcgman.

Sam Goldwasser for making public such a treasure-trove of information about lasers.

Tom Ehrichs for spending time cleaning and aligning the laser. I gained as much by watching him work as I did by him working.

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Laser Alignment Heck Pt II

Being the continuing saga of Laser Alignment Heck

So, the laser’s working again and power levels are somewhat close to what they were before this adventure began.

I don’t have many pictures of the process I went through last night. Andres came over and I spent my picture time talking with him and taking him through the details rather than shooting.

I’ll probably clean the OC tonight so I’ll get a few more pictures to add later

In the meantime, here’s what I went through to get 19mW.

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Laser alignment heck

Ok, so for the last several weeks I’ve had a functionally dead Spectra Physics 907 laser.

I managed to tweak it past the point of lasing and had to start the arduous process of learning to align this kind of laser from square one. I then spent the better part of two weeks trying to align the laser myself but could never get the beam quality back the way it was before I screwed it up.

What follows is what I’ve done so far to get my laser fully alive again. It’s still not working but hopefully soon it will be.

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