The average 10 mW laser pointer can be adjusted in the strobe or flash mode to achieve a range of between a few and 20 feet. However, the power of a pointer can be affected by its pump diode or crystal temperature. Because of this, it’s important to choose a high-quality product.
When choosing a laser pointer, you’ll want to think about what you’ll be using it for. For example, a 10 mW laser pointer will allow you to cut wood, plastic, stone, and many other materials. But this kind of laser is not for everyone. It can be harmful to your eyes.
The laser beam must be enclosed, either by a glass enclosure or wire mesh, and cannot be directly aimed at people. It also must be safely terminated. A collimated beam can target a tiny spot on the retina. A highly divergent beam, on the other hand, is less hazardous, unless it hits something close to the pointer’s source.
At the distance of one hundred meters, a red 10mW laser pointer’s beam will have a divergence of about one milliradian. Its beam would be as bright as a 100-watt light bulb at three feet away. When viewed from 40,000 feet, the beam would look like a quarter moon. From space, the light would look like Sirius.
The green lasers will be much brighter than red ones, but they will be more distracting. Also, green lasers tend to be less dangerous. If you’re flying a fixed-wing plane, a green laser pointer might be adequate. However, if you’re traveling at a high speed, flash blindness is a real possibility.
There are a number of misconceptions about the safety of laser pointers. While there’s little evidence that these devices are dangerous, some irresponsible aiming can lead to tragic results. Even though laser pointers are generally considered safe, it’s best to consult a medical professional before using one.
If you’re planning to use a laser pointer in public, make sure you follow local laws and regulations regarding the use of these devices. You don’t want the laser to hit someone in the sky. In fact, laser light shows have to be coordinated with the military and air traffic control.
Another problem with high-powered lasers is their limited availability. High-powered UV lasers are expensive and power hungry, and are primarily found in research labs, semiconductor fabs, and LASIK eye correction clinics. The chances of someone using a high-powered UV laser to target a plane are minuscule. These devices are also not portable.
The most common wavelengths used in laser pointers are green, orange, and red. Red lasers have been around for quite a while, but a new wavelength, the 445nm deep blue, is on the horizon.