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New Mexico Geochronology Research Laboratory
Hardware — CO2 Laser

CO2 Laser
CO2 laser chamber in use by the NMGRL. Copper sample disks in background.

Note: The description below is out of date and will be revised soon.

The CO2 laser system used by the NMGRL consists of...

  • Advantages of a CO2 laser system
    • Inexpensive to purchase, operate and maintain
    • excellent beam coupling to silicate minerals
    • rapid sample heating relative to the resistance furnace
    • very low argon background or blank levels relative to resistance furnace
    • ideal for identifying sample heterogenities (e.g. non-desirable mineral phases, xenocrysts)
    • capable of step-heating with special lenses
  • Disadvantages of a CO2 laser system
    • incapable of very small (<1 mm beam spot sizes, as is necessary for in-situ argon extraction (see UV laser)
    • even with special lenses for step-heating, homogeneous heating difficult





Schematic of NGMRL CO2 laser system


CO2 laser schematic


Components of the NMGRL CO2 laser system.

  1. Color CCTV camera (Polnux TMC-574)
  2. Optical lens
  3. IR transparent optical mirror
  4. Vibration isolated workstation/table (Newport Corporation)
  5. Automated stage:
  6. Sample chamber: base = 3.375" flange; window = ISI ZnSe 1.5 window mounted in 3.375" flange
  7. Copper sample holder; 6 to 221 sample pits
  8. Potassium bromide cover slip: 2mm thick x 38.1 mm diameter
  9. first surface silicon mirror
  10. 1" diameter by 5" focal length ZnSe meniscus lens, II-VI #376587
  11. Beam integrator lens
  12. Laser power meter head; Molectron PM150-19-C, swings in or out of beam path to measure beam intensity
  13. Laser feedback diode, Synrad CA-48-CL
  14. 50-watt CO2 laser, Synrad 48-1-28W
  15. He-Ne pointer laser, Synrad He-Ne
  16. Two-axis motion controller with IEEE.488 communications, Newport PMC200-P
  17. Laser power meter, Powermax 5100
  18. CO2 laser controller with 0-10 volt DC input, Synrad UC-1000
  19. 0-40 volt, 10 amp power supply with 0-10 volt input, Lambda LLS8040