Melles Griot Multiline 458-515nm Argon Ion Laser System (35-IMA-840-015)

This Argon Ion laser system is very similar to the other unit featured on this website, but has a few key differences. There is no need to go into detail regarding how the Melles Griot IMA/IML series Argon Ion lasers work, as that information has been already covered on the page for the other unit. A link to that writeup is provided at the bottom of this page. This unit was purchased online in used, tested/working condition. According to the seller, this laser system was extracted from a Nikon LU4 which was likely used with a confocal microscope. Included in the sale was the laser head and power supply of course, but also the controller and the IMA10X series operator's manual. The controller and manual were two pieces we did not get with the previous unit, and had been searching for since. The operator's manual can be viewed and downloaded using the link on the documents page. Please save and share this manual as we have been unable to locate it anywhere else online!

argon ion laser system

This laser system ended up being an excellent purchase since it has significantly less hours (~14,200) than the other unit (>50,000), and starts without any trouble. We received all the necessary cables and accessories to operate this laser system right out of the box. Our only concern is the fact that the power supply and controller are several years newer than the laser head and feature a different model and serial number. This does not impact operation but could impact the calibration status, therefore the output power measurement may not be accurate. Another possibility is that the power supply and controller were replaced at some point, but we would still expect to see matching model numbers if that is the case. We did perform some minor service on this unit, mainly for our own quality of life while operating it. The power supply fan bearings were in very bad shape leading to an unbearable grinding noise during use. We opened up the power supply and replaced the fan with a typical 12v 80mm computer fan. The existing connector was retained and soldered onto the new fan's wiring. Notably, we chose to cut and then re-tape the cardboard air-guide within the power supply to gain access to the fan. If we hadn't done this, nearly full disassembly of the power supply would be required, which would have taken significant effort.

300 series power supple with fan replaced

The original calibrated output power of this laser system is likely around 40mW, during our tests we had no trouble getting ~35mW out of it. According to a sticker on the laser head, it passed final QA in 2010, another indicator of good health. The laser head is multiline and includes all lines common with Argon Ion lasers (458-515nm). The other unit is also multiline, but the 515nm green is filtered out. When a diffraction grating is placed in the beam path at the right angle, each wavelength appears as a separate beam.

multiple wavelength beams

The OEM controller we received with this unit (Melles Griot RC2) is essentially what we tried to replicate with our custom controller (NT-IONDRIVE), designed for use with the same 300 series power supplies and IMA/IML Argon Ion laser systems. The similarities between the controllers is a good indicator that we were on the right track. However, a major notable difference is the fact that the OEM RC2 has an internal potentiometer for calibrating the output power measurement. We were unaware of this when designing our controller, and while the calibration can be adjusted in software with our unit, it seems strange to need to calibrate the controller itself. We would expect that output power calibration would take place between the power supply and laser head. Regardless, the controller connects to and is powered from the 300 series power supply using a DB-25 cable. Using the controller, you can enable/disable the laser with the switch labeled "discharge", change between power and current control mode, adjust the output using the potentiometers, and monitor the output power in mW and tube current in amps.

melles griot rc2 controller

Below is a screenshot taken from the manual of the pin-out of the "REMOTE P2" DB-25 connector on the power supply.

300 series power supply p2 connector pinout

We are thankful for the seller's assistance with scanning and sending us the operator's manual and providing useful insight. Also, a special thanks goes to Zenodilodon for his continued support!