Protera Laser SystemNovalux Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., developed its Protera 488 laser system as a solid-state replacement for the air-cooled argon-ion laser used in bioanalytical instrumentation. Its advantages over argon-ion include twice the lifetime, 1/100 the power consumption, 1/50 the size and two to three times the beam performance. The beam is a single-frequency TEM00 with an M2 of less than 1.2. Pointing stability is below 30 µrad, and optical noise is less than 0.2 percent rms. The system provides 5 to 20 mW from an 11.6-cu-in. package that dissipates less than 5 W. Using the company's NECSEL (Novalux Extended-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) technology, the cavity consists of a laser diode, an SHG crystal that resides within the cavity, and an output coupler mirror. Other elements include an etalon, a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) to stabilize the crystal's temperature and another TEC to stabilize the overall cavity. The intended uses for the Protera are any bioanalytical applications that now use an argon-ion laser, including flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, DNA sequencing and capillary electrophoresis. The demand for lasers with 488-nm light in these applications is due to the large quantity of fluorochromes designed for excitation at that wavelength.