Having Fun With Green Lasers

By: Richardwest
Today, just about everyone owns a red beam laser pointer. Whether it has been used at work in conjunction with a PowerPoint presentation or to amuse yourself by teasing your cat or dog or, better yet, used to plant a red dot on your friend's forehead, red beam lasers have been around for a while and contributed to many fun moments in the lives of otherwise sober techno-geeks and non-geeks as well.

But, let's face it! What's the point of owning a red laser pointer when everyone not only can have one, but they actually do? Even your grandmother has one, and she doesn't even "do" PowerPoint. So how do you rise to be top geek and impress your friends, furry or otherwise?

Any techie knows that the red beams use 650 nm wavelengths. Powerful new laser pointers on the much improved 532 nm wavelength are now available on the market. And do you know what the more intense frequency creates? It creates a green beam.

So if you got your kicks by using your old red laser beam to highlight things on a projection screen across the room, imagine how good you'll feel using a green laser pointer to highlight things that used to be out of reach. Because a green laser beam is more powerful than a red one, it can highlight clouds, low-flying aircraft, and even star constellations. Best of all, you can see the green laser beam outside during full sunlight.

This equipment is so strong that it could actually get you arrested! Yes, arrested. Pointing a green laser beam at an aircraft could have the FBI on your case, wondering if you're planning possible terrorist operations from your backyard. Pretty neat, huh? Your old dinky red pointer can't do that.

And the green laser pointer doesn't produce just a wee little spot. You can see the whole beam as it travels to the stars. Think Luke and his light saber. See the possibilities?

To make a green laser pointer, you need a whole level of technology way past the red laser pointer. The true green laser pointer requires a green direct injection laser diode, and these are not available for public consumption. So, there's a whole complicated thing they have to do. (This next paragraph is only for extreme geeks.)

The green laser pointers, available on the market today, all use Diode Pumped Solid State Frequency Doubled technology, aka DPSSFD, which is good news for everyone. Basically, this means that an infrared laser diode pumps out 808 nm, which is then altered to 1,064 nm, which is then shot into a crystal that doubles the frequency to produce the green beam at 532 nm. (It should go without saying, because only card-carrying geeks are reading this, which with frequency smaller numbers mean stronger.)

For all these reasons, green laser pointers are the cool new technological gadget that all your techie friends will love. They were actually created in 2000, but outside highly technical fields they're still virtually unknown. Be prepared to pay a heftier price, though. Red pointers cost less than $10, but a new green laser pointer can be as much as $50. But it will be worth every penny. How could you resist such a powerful new device? We know you want one.
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