A laser pointer or laser pen is a small handheld device with a power source (usually a battery) and a laser diode emitting a very narrow coherent low-powered laser beam of visible light, intended to be used to highlight something of interest by illuminating it with a small bright spot of colored light. Power is restricted in most jurisdictions not to exceed 5 mW.
The small width of the beam and low power of typical laser pointers make the beam itself invisible in a reasonably clean atmosphere, only showing a point of light when striking an opaque surface. Some higher-powered laser pointers project a visible beam via scattering from dust particles or water droplets along the beam path. Higher-power and higher-frequency green or blue lasers may produce a beam visible even in clean air because of Rayleigh scattering from air molecules, especially when viewed in moderately-to-dimly lit conditions. The intensity of such scattering increases when these beams are viewed from angles near the beam axis. Such pointers, particularly in the green-light output range, are used as astronomical-object pointers for teaching purposes. The recent low-cost availability of infrared (IR) diode laser modules of up to 1000 mW (1 watt) output has created a generation of IR-pumped frequency-doubled (DPSS) laser pointers in green, blue, and violet, of higher visible power, typically up to 300 mW. Because the IR-laser component in the beams of these visible lasers is difficult to filter out, and also because filtering it contributes extra heat which is difficult to dissipate in a small pocket "laser pointer" package, it is often left as a beam component in cheaper high-power pointers. This invisible laser light component causes a degree of extra potential hazard in these devices when pointed at nearby objects and people.
Laser pointers make a potent signaling tool, even in daylight, and are able to produce a bright signal for potential search and rescue vehicles using an inexpensive, small and lightweight device of the type that could be routinely carried in an emergency kit.
Laser pointers if aimed at a person's eyes can cause temporary disturbances to vision. There is some evidence of rare minor permanent harm, but low-powered laser pointers are not seriously hazardous to health. They may be a major annoyance in some circumstances. A dot of light from a red laser pointer may be thought to be due to a laser gunsight, causing outrage and possible danger. When pointed at aircraft at night, laser pointers may dazzle and distract pilots, and increasingly strict laws have been passed to ban this.
Other articles related to "laser pointer, laser pointers, laser":
... Laser pointers are Class II or Class IIIa devices, with output beam power less than 5 milliwatts ( ...
... attempt to be funny is undermined by a man with a laser pointer and when George makes the comment, nobody laughs because they are instead laughing at the laser ... then returns to the car, only to find the red dot of the laser pointer appearing all over parts of his body ... A panicked George can't see the man holding the laser and worries he will go blind if it touches his eye ...
Famous quotes containing the word pointer:
“The hardiest skeptic who has seen a horse broken, a pointer trained, or has visited a menagerie or the exhibition of the Industrious Fleas, will not deny the validity of education. A boy, says Plato, is the most vicious of all beasts; and in the same spirit the old English poet Gascoigne says, A boy is better unborn than untaught.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)