Quantitative Evaluation of a Time-Dependent Eye Hazard Posed by Laser Pointers

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Abstract

A novel test methodology was developed for quantitative evaluation of critical radiant power characteristics as a function of time for diode pumped solid state (DPSS) laser pointers. It is based on a simultaneous measurement of time-dependent radiant power characteristics of multi-wavelength spectral components emitted by DPSS laser pointers. The authors tested green DPSS laser pointers, which emit three spectral components at the fundamental near-infrared (1064‐nm), pumping near-infrared (808‐nm), and second-harmonic green (532‐nm) wavelengths. The obtained experimental results are employed for performing eye hazard evaluation according to U.S. and International laser safety standards. All tested green laser pointers demonstrated significant variability of radiant power as a function of time and wavelength. Thus, the severity of the potential eye hazard from DPSS laser pointers for a given exposure time depends on when a person was exposed after the pointer was turned on. Most laser pointers emitted radiation in excess of their classification limits, including unwanted infrared radiation that is not necessary for their intended use as laser pointers.

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