By Darren Ditmar
Laser pointers are becoming a very popular device used all the way from children to teachers and even the United States military. These devices can be very complicated or very simple. Personally, I have built some really nice green laser pointers my self and it is a lot more simple than you would think.
Lasers are a little like a flashlight. They run off of a battery and produce light. But a laser emits small amounts of radiation in order to produce a stream of light. Lasers use a light bulb called a diode. Diodes are watt happy devices that if they get too much energy they will get too hot causing them to burn out.
Laser pointers work in wavelengths. The most common wavelength is 650 nanometers (nm) or “red” then you go down to a more expensive wave of 532nm this one is green. The 450 nm is a blue light and can be found in blu ray devices, ps3, ps4, xbox 360, xbox 1, and even some projectors. The 405 nm wavelength is a purplish blue color. It is the closest common color to ultraviolet that you can get without spending a fortune. Then on the other side of things, you can go with a 808nm. This is the most common infrared or IR laser that you can get that at low power levels is invisible to the human eye but can be seen by cameras. At high power levels it is seen as a dim red light.
Lasers are measured in milliwatts, and watts for the most part. After watts you get into terawatts and that just isn’t something you will get in a pointer. There is 1000 mw in 1 watt.
Making them are simple you need a diode, a driver that regulates the voltage a host, like an old flashlight or a custom one that you can make or buy. The last thing that you need is a heat sink to prevent the lasers diode from getting too hot. A good website to purchase laser diodes, drivers, and even complete lasers is www.lazerer.com. This company is a very well known and trusted website. Don’t be fooled by some companies that will say that they are selling really good lasers for really cheap. www.wickedlasers.com is also a very good website. They are the best people I have ever dealt with for customer service.
So if you are wanting to make a laser or even just buy one, do some research and find the companies that have good reviews and a good record. Then expect to be shelling out some cash if you are looking for a good one.