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New Mexico Geochronology Research Laboratory
Hardware — UV Laser

UV Laser
Matt Heizler optimizing beam output of NMGRL's UV laser.

Note: The description of hardware below is out of date and will be revised soon.

The UV laser system used by the NMGRL:

  • Advantages of a UV laser system
    • capable of very small (> 10 micron) beam spot sizes needed for in situ argon extraction
    • ablates material rather than heating/fusing. This means it will not effect argon sites immediately adjacent to current analysis spot.
  • Disadvantages of a UV laser system
    • expensive to purchase and maintain
    • not capable of step-heating

Schematic of NGMRL UV laser system

UV laser schematic

Components of the NMGRL UV laser system.

  1. Rear mirror/intra cavity shutter
  2. Q-switch
  3. Oscillator pumping chamber
  4. Output coupling mirror
  5. Steering mirrors
  6. Second harmonic generator
  7. Third/Fourth harmonic generator
  8. HSA2 Dichroic mirror harmonic separator, UV beam exit to sample chamber

UV mica
This muscovite grain is approximately 2 mm across (short axis). The ablation pits were used to determine the argon (age) distribution across the grain.