Experimental Ruby Laser

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This is an experimental ruby laser made in 1963 at Ohio State University. Edward Damon, a researcher at the University’s Antenna Laboratory, made this and several other lasers during his investigation of Theodore Maiman’s successful ruby laser experiments of three years earlier.
An important part of science consists of replicating the experiments conducted by other researchers and confirming their results. Like Maiman's 1960 laser, Damon's 1963 laser used a photographer's helical flashlamp to energize the ruby crystal. It demonstrated the use of mirrors external to the ruby rod instead of mirrors deposited in the crystal itself. The mirrors are on adjustable mounts that allowed Damon to make a variety of experiments with this unit.
Currently not on view
date made
Physical Description
aluminum (overall material)
glass (flash tube material)
ruby (crystal material)
xenon (fill gas material)
tungsten (electrode material)
plastic (part material)
brass (part material)
copper (part material)
overall: 10 1/2 in x 18 1/2 in x 6 in; 26.67 cm x 46.99 cm x 15.24 cm
laser on base: 8 1/2 in x 18 1/2 in x 6 in; 21.59 cm x 46.99 cm x 15.24 cm
cover with handle: 8 1/2 in x 16 in x 6 in; 21.59 cm x 40.64 cm x 15.24 cm
end pieces: 6 3/4 in x 5 3/4 in x 1/4 in; 17.145 cm x 14.605 cm x .635 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory, thru John Volakis, William J. Shkurti and Stuart Collins
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Data Source
National Museum of American History