Experimental Ruby Laser

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 ruby laser experiments of three years earlier.
In addition to replicating Maiman's 1960 experiments, Damon wished to explore variations of the ruby laser. Unlike Maiman's laser, this laser does not use a spiral flashlamp to energize the ruby crystal. Instead, Damon placed three linear flashlamps parallel to the rod-shaped laser crystal. Firing these lamps simultaneously provided energy to the crystal. The laser also demonstrates a water cooling technique still used in some lasers today.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
aluminum (overall material)
glass (flash tube material)
ruby (crystal material)
xenon (fill gas material)
tungsten (electrode material)
brass (part material)
plastic (part material)
copper (part material)
overall: 8 1/4 in x 11 in x 6 in; 20.955 cm x 27.94 cm x 15.24 cm
laser on base: 7 1/2 in x 11 in x 6 in; 19.05 cm x 27.94 cm x 15.24 cm
cover: 4 1/2 in x 11 in x 6 in; 11.43 cm x 27.94 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Science & Mathematics
Energy & Power
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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