HeNe Lasers: Handling and Mounting Guidelines
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Figure 1: The external housing of HeNe lasers is mechanically coupled to the components of the lasing cavity. Stress applied to the external housing can misalign and potentially fracture lasing cavity components, which can negatively impact the quality and power of the output laser beam (red arrow) or lead to laser failure
||High Reflector Optics
||Glass Laser Bore
||Metal Springs that Align and Stabilize Bore
||Output Coupling Optics
HeNe lasers should be handled and mounted with care to protect them from damage.
Never apply a bending force to the laser housing. Stress applied to the laser's external housing can misalign or damage components in the laser cavity. This can:
- Affect the output beam quality.
- Result in reduced output power.
- Affect the beam pointing.
- Cause multimode effects.
Factory packaging protects the HeNe lasers from shocks and vibrations during shipping, but end users directly handle the bare laser housing. Due to this, HeNe lasers are in greater danger of experiencing dangerous stress during handling by the end user.
A result is that the primary cause of damage to HeNe lasers is rough handling after receipt of the laser. In extreme cases, shock and vibrations can shatter or fracture glass components internal to the laser.
To maintain the optimum performance of your HeNe laser, do not drop it, never use force when inserting it into fixture, and use care when installing it into mounts, securing it using cage components or ring accessories that grip the housing, transporting it, and storing it.
HeNe lasers will provide optimum performance over a long lifetime when they are handled gently.