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A nitrogen laser system built to probe dense z-pinch and x-pinch plasmas is described. This low-cost system consists of an atmospheric pressure oscillator and a low pressure amplifier. It generates a 1-cm-diam 3371 Å laser beam with approximately 0.33 mJ in a Շ1 ns pulse, and with a coherence length of at least 5 cm. This laser has been used in several modes of operation, such as for simultaneous schlieren and interferometry imaging of dense z-pinch and x-pinch plasmas. Example results are presented.doi:10.1063/1.1148186 fatcat:umsghkylkzca3mai55mogtzxnu