Start a Laboratory

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Let's talk about starting a scientific laboratory.

Laboratory space[edit]

To start a laboratory, we will need some spaces. At the bare minimum, space should be able to host an optical table (a vibration isolation table). As an example, let's the dimension of the optical table be Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle 5~\mathrm{ft} \times 8~\mathrm{ft} = 40~\mathrm{ft^2}} . For a safety purpose, we will probably need aisles/passageways of 3 ft wide (check with your institute for exact requirements). As a result, we will need a room of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle (5+6)~\mathrm{ft} \times (8+6)~\mathrm{ft} = 154~\mathrm{ft^2}} to host the optical table. However, one might need spaces for other purposes such as a working desk, a storage space, an office space, a fume hood, and an electronics bench.

Optical components[edit]

Optical tables[edit]

An optical table is one of a very first thing that one will need to start to build up an experimental apparatus. The surface of an optical table typically contains a rectangular grid of tapped holes in either metric (M6 on a 25 mm grid) or imperial unit (1/4-20" on a 1" grid). These surface configurations help to standardize dimensions for parts and devices used on optical tables. Many applications require that vibrations of elements on an optical table are kept small. To reduce vibration, optical tables are often heavy and are supported by vibration isolation legs.

Optical table supplier[edit]

Newport Thorlabs

General optical components[edit]

The general optical components that are most used in an optical laboratory include reflection mirrors, optical lenses, beam splitter, optical polarizer, waveplate, optical fiber, laser, and many more.

General optics supplier[edit]

Thorlabs Newport Edmund Optics Casix Melles Griot


The term laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Light emitted from a laser is coherent, spatially coherent and temporally coherence. Spatial coherence allows a laser beam to be focused into a tiny spot. Temporal coherence allows a laser to emit light highly monochromatic. Lasers can be found in many scientific applications, including laser cooling, optical tweezers, optical imaging, optical excitation, optical interference, and many more.

Laser supplier[edit]

Toptica Thorlabs Newport Coherent Laser Glow Sacher Laser Roithner Laser

Vacuum components[edit]

General vacuum component[edit]

General vacuum component suppliers[edit]

Kurt J. Lesker Accu-Glass Kimball Physics MDC Vacuum MKS Applied Vacuum Pascal Technologies Pfeiffer Vacuum UC Components Ancorp Nor-Cal

Vacuum pump[edit]

Vacuum pump supplier[edit]

Kurt J. Lesker MKS Pfeiffer Vacuum Gamma Vacuum Edward Vacuum Duniway Agilent SAES Getters

Electronics component[edit]

Electronics component suppliers[edit]

Digi-Key Mini-Circuits Mouser Jameco Sparkfun National Instruments

Scientific equipment[edit]

National Instruments Stanford Research System Fisher Scientific Agilent Technologies Tektronix Keysight BK Precision


Chemical supplier[edit]

Alfa GoodFellow

General materials and supplies[edit]



Funding is probably one of the most important ingredients to fulfill a scientific research.

General funding agency[edit]

Department of Health & Human Services Foundation Center Pivot Fulbright

Science and engineering funding agency[edit]

NSF Air Force Office of Scientific Research Army Research Office Office of Naval Research U.S. Department of Energy Alfred P. Sloan Foundation The Whitehall Foundation The Welch Foundation The United Engineering Foundation Alexander von Humboldt Foundation National Academy of Engineering

Health funding agency[edit]

National Institutes of Health