Friday, April 16, 2010

Carbon dioxide laser

The laser turns 50 this year with the construction of the first ruby laser.

The first CO2 laser followed only 2 years later in 1963.

How Stuff Works and this video gives an overview of how lasers work, the video concentrates on the Ruby laser. The How Stuff Works gives a more general overview but talks about the transition of an electron between orbit levels for the generation of lasing photons. A CO2 laser, whilst the principles are the same, the energy level transitions are between vibration modes of the atoms within the molecule.
This is impossible according to the climate change science deniers. We have a few gifted persons about who can make up their science and do demand that CO2 is inert in the infra-red and thus cannot affect temperature. Yet the very thing they deny is exploited to build CO2 lasers that can emit beams of infra-red, powerful invisible beams of heat.

[edit2013: removed water vibrational modes as reference [5] now dead.]

CO2 vibration modes[6]




"Population inversion" is a necessary condition for lasers. It’s where the quantity of the higher energy level stuff (molecules in CO2’s case) is greater than the lower level after emission. This has to be so - the photon, as it approaches a molecule will be absorbed if the molecule is in the lower state, if it passes a molecule in the high state, it could stimulate emission and now we have 2 photons in phase, same wavelength, traveling in the same direction. It's the later we want so we definitely don't want too many in the low state.

A trick (now I've used that word, this is all impossible) that most lasers, including CO2, is to utilise 3 levels. The first is the ground state, the natural state of the supply of material. The 2nd state is the high energy level. The 3rd is an intermediately level that is the result of the 2nd level losing a photon, hopefully stimulated. The trick is to easily pump up level 2, and keep pumping level 2 and have level 3 be able to depopulate quickly itself or induced to do so.
A typical CO2 laser gas fill is 9.5% CO2, 13.5% N2, and 77%, the rest, He. The nitrogen gas is pumped electrically to an energy level that is close to the 001 mode of CO2, the nitrogen imparts energy to CO2.

N2, as you're probably aware, is the major gas of our atmosphere and is transparent to infra-red photons so will not affect the laser's operation nor does it keep Earth warmer than the moon (the moon being close enough to the same distance from the sun as us - specials often assert various made up stuff at this point). O2 is also IR inert, ie most of the Earth’s atmosphere is IR inert. The atmosphere's major IR active gases are CO2, water vapour and ozone O3. The specials will yell H2O is the most active (after lying about CO2, why not lie more) but the same problem arises if you try to make a steam powered laser - that is the amount of vapour is dependant on operating temperature and any extra H2O will condense out as a liquid.

The helium gas helps in removing kinetic energy from the 100 CO2 vibration mode which is the level 3 we mentioned earlier that we wish to depopulate quickly.

And that's the pew-pew( or rather the bgzzzzzzzzzzzzzt) that is a CO2 laser in a very short summary.

If you're a denier (or if you prefer a CO2 sceptic, I'll call you anything you wish if you agree to this) maybe we could organise a bit of an outing to a university - get a TV camera crew, televise you giving personal injury wager then we'll attempt to cut off your finger. In our world, based upon prior observation, and other hi-falootin theory crap, you won't feel a thing .. at first .. as flesh is burnt, blood vessels cauterised, nerve endings killed - there'll be an unmistakable visual and stench - a little after that I'd imagine it wouldn't tickle. BUT - in your world, the laser would fail as the CO2 infra-red crap is all a UN single government hoax (or something) and you will have heroically killed the global warming fraud at it's very base. You will so show the invisible nothing from the end of the laser to be a fraud perpetrated by grant hungry scientists that have been cooking their research because no-one would pay them if they showed teh truth. Please let us know if you want to settle this, I'll ring ACA, 60minutes etc - if any of them wish to pay I'll happily let you keep all the money, I just wish to watch - you could so stick it to those eggheads.


Anonymous said...

"GDay Roger – the CO2 laser exploits the ability of the CO2 molecule to absorb and re-emit within the Infra-Red just as Tyndall observed – would you mind demonstrating that the CO2 laser is a scam (we could televise this and blow open the AGW fraud completely see"

Sorry about this but the person who never volunteered his name at the other site has stopped publishing my comments it appears.
It appears my questions are too hard to answer although I see he may have explored my site a little.
As to your question, Im sure a laser works exactly as you describe because as you are no doubt very aware you can test it empirically in the conditions that it is designed to operate in.
We both know the world has many factors that control the climate and unfortunately it is impossible to test the "anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming" hypothesis empirically.So all we have left is an unproven hypothesis and if you care to visit my site at you will read just some of the things that actually disprove the above hypothesis.
Considering that the bill for IPCC carbon emission requirements will almost certainly break our economies, the standard of proof of the AGW theory needs to be very high indeed.
Confidence in the IPCC has plummeted recently because of the host of cockups that are emerging from their latest report and quite reasonably this fact has put most people on guard.
So the question is to you: Would you be happy to starve to death now on the current evidence of a disasterous heating of the planet within the next 100 years?



DaveMcRae said...

I am delighted you can, grudgingly I think, get past the first part of atmospheric physics that CO2 is IR-active.

But then, without a scrap of science for support, you assert atmospheric physics is something else that every undergraduate atmospheric physics textbook says it is.

I think I know where you're coming from. Like a person who will not accept they have cancer for fear of chemotherapy, you deny climate physics because you fear the cure is real bad and includes, you claim, starving on death row.

I'd be surprised if you know of an economic paper that draws that conclusion. In fact, I think you'll find an overwhelming economic consensus that the cure is at worst a tiny impost (and then that's only on the 5% chance that AGW turns out less than expected) but will probably be advantageous to a nation's economic growth.

And if we miss out on the 95% chance that a >2C rise will have moderate to severe negative impacts to almost all economies then the difference is much greater - I'm familiar with the economic report of Garnaut's only because it's Australian, but there are many others and their conclusions are fairly similar especially with regard to the non-existence of starving death rows and that placing a price on carbon is both desirable and will lead to good things.

So no, I would not be happy to starve on a death row - but that is not remotely on the cards in any scenario.

Some interesting links regarding the economics of climate change action (I think we can move past the science as I strongly suspect you're concerned with the economic cost of possible cures of which rest assured, the CO2 molecule is not capable of caring)
"It's an externality, stupid-so price it" C.Cottarelli, IMF

DaveMcRae said...

Two youtube vidoes of CO2 lasers

Roger said...

No I am saying that the cost of meeting IPCC obligations is extremely high, probably impossibly so. Therefore if we are going to commit to following them, we had better be very very sure that the so far unproven "Anthropogenic co2 causes global warming" hypothesis is absolutely water tight.

To use your analogy, it would be pretty silly to operate for cancer in your brain if it turned out that all you were suffering from were temporary piles around your anus.

Get it?



Will post this conversation on
Feel welcome to visit.

DaveMcRae said...

Yep, got it. Would you like to prove Tyndall and every scientist since 1859 who have measured the CO2 infra-red properties?

I'll call the press and TV and I'm pretty sure I can tee up a uni or manufacturer over there with a CO2 laser and you can laugh at them and all warmers as they attempt to cut your finger off - you'll be the hero of the world. Please please say yes - you know the CO2 laser principles, like greenhouse gas theory is all rubbish because you know - you know it because you and your friends say so thus it must be so.

(pls also disregard those videos above - all fake as you know, like those experiments that Tyndall set up or these that you could do at home such as,296,EX.html

citizenschallenge said...

Roger says: "Considering that the bill for IPCC carbon emission requirements will almost certainly break our economies, the standard of proof of the AGW theory needs to be very high indeed."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I always get a kick out of such remarks.
Look around at the world and the untenable "economic" vectors in motion.
Our 'Economies' are well into their own head along rush to self destruction!...fueled by greed, hubris and willful ignorance -

At least getting real about GHG's and what we have done to our planet will offer potential to those who are left cleaning up the (self created) mess barreling down on us.

Have you ever looked at There are is a radical transition going on in our biosphere, the symptoms and signs are everywhere to be seen, you just have to open your eyes and look.

DaveMcRae said...

Thanks Peter for the link.

It does seem a little old (the Oceanic links seem to be dated around 1999). Not that this is a bad thing. It's illustrative to see how it got worse - for Australia, hotter, wetter, and windier up top, hotter and dryer in the south of Aus.

DaveMcRae said...

A funny development in the last Heartland Institutes (pro-tobacco, anti-AGW PR outfit) "conference on climate change" where a scientist presenting himself as a denier (I do hope he collected the US$10k offer for any denier paper that meets their denier thingies) presented a very good presentation - he got away with it too - his presentation is still available at the Heartland's site (A PowerPoint document - 28 pages, but pages 5 and 6 have the molecule diagrams I want to lift if I can work out how to un-PPT them into a gif or like format). Prof Denning said it much better what I was trying to say - although I love lasers too, and he didn't mention them, so maybe I win - nah, he got it past Heartland, Denning FTW

(I was alerted to this by a hoot of a parody blog I follow The Climate Scum: Fourth International Conference on Climate Change that is so accurate on denier mannerisms it's a proof of Poe's Law)

jg said...

I enjoyed this topic. Thanks. Keep it up.


DaveMcRae said...

I've been trying at various denier sites, but never get out of moderation - last attempt was at JoNova's fetid pool of rot this very innocuous (I thought) invite to deniers for stump up.


I've read a few posts about CO2 not being able to absorb energy in this thread and some others on this site.

I have been asking for volunteers, but no luck so far, to disprove that assertion that CO2 can absorb energy, or is any way active in the infra-red. If we can disprove CO2 is IR active then we've killed the AGW thing dead at source. If a skeptic is willing to put a finger on the line for science, we can do this.

I'm sure I could organise a local to you university or industry that has a CO2 laser, a local TV crew or 2, and with a televised personal injury waiver, televise the attempt to cut off your finger with the CO2 laser. When the invisible beam of nothing fails, AGW will be shown to be a hoax .. on TV.

I lack the guts to do it myself. I've seen and have used CO2 lasers to do some serious burning and if it's a trick by those scientists as part of their global domination plan, I can't work out how it's pulled off.

More info at

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cdl class b jobs said...

No I am saying that the cost of meeting IPCC obligations is extremely high, probably impossibly so. Therefore if we are going to commit to following them, we had better be very very sure that the so far unproven "Anthropogenic co2 causes global warming" hypothesis is absolutely water tight.

DaveMcRae said...

1) All economists AFAIK do not think it is a high cost - most studies, Stern, Garnaut, etc have it as extremely modest. And is certainly less costly that BAU.

2) Yes it has been proven. You you consider volunteering to stand in front of a CO2 laser?


Not to cast dispersions but is there something to be gained from commenting in threads where one can to leave an advertising link? (I'm sorry that may come off harsh - you're the first in months I haven't deleted because you've actually made a sentence - the rest have been gibberish of lines copied from post). I don't understand how that could benefit.

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It does seem a little old (the Oceanic links seem to be dated around 1999). Not that this is a bad thing. It's illustrative to see how it got worse - for Australia, hotter, wetter, and windier up top, hotter and dryer in the south of Aus.

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