Coolant lines for lasers

chill

Many lasers have baseplates with channels through which chilled water is pumped to dissipate heat and stabilize the temperature of the system. I haven’t had much trouble with the chillers and baseplates of Newport/Spectra-Physics systems. However, most of the Coherent Chameleon systems I’ve worked with (3 out of 4) have had problems with the water chiller and/or baseplate. The chillers broke down and had to be replaced (repeatedly) and/or the baseplates got clogged (which can lead to the tubing popping off, pictured above). What has been your experience?

On the confocal listserv, Craig Brideau recommended household vinegar or a 5% acetic acid solution to clean out a clogged baseplate.

Philip Oshel offered his recipe as well:

I’ve used both hydrogen peroxide and CLR (brand name lime & rust remover). For a TEM-sized chiller, this took one bottle of CLR or 1 Liter of 3% H2O2 (or 100 mL 30% H2O2). Circulate this for one to six hours, or even overnight if needed (sounds like that will be needed in your case), followed by flushing with 4-5 volumes of tap water. This works well, and causes no damage to instrument chilling lines. When I had a biofilm-sludge clogging problem, the vinegar trick worked. I used about 1 Liter of vinegar for this, followed by tap water.

We use Optishield in our chiller water supply to keep it clean. And we flush it regularly. Even that isn’t always enough to avoid problems.

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