Will an argon ion laser still work after being in storage for >8 years?

I found an argon ion laser, unopened, in its original packaging (don’t ask how this happened). I suspect that it was purchased by my predecessor >8 years ago. Will it still work? I’ve heard that some lasers die if they aren’t used regularly, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true or if it only applies to certain laser types.

Have HeNes in my garage that are >15 years old. Think it depends on the storage environment and construction. So more generally, they are similar to vacuum tubes. Sometimes the seals go bad after a long time. What happens, besides not working, when you turn them on is that the high voltage will turn the oxygen in the air to ozone. You won’t be able to miss the smell if the seals on the laser tube are bad and the gas has escaped. Try it when your lab is empty or in a vent hood…it will get smelly quickly (within 5 to 10 minutes) and linger… hope it helps.


should be fine. I have many old Argon spares which fire right up. Check to see if this one has a Hobbes meter for showing hours of use. This has a thin sliver line, with check-marks for thousands of hours of active lasing. Not all lasers have them, but if you try to sell it to someone, they would like to know that, as a predictor of how long the tube is likely to ask before it needs to be refilled.