Author Options:

What colour laser should I get? Answered

Recently won second prize in the Wicked Lasers contest.  We are given the choice of a green laser - highest output, and in descending order of strength, red followed by purple.  Was wondering, oddly enough which is the most forgiving of lasers.  As in which is the most durable, ie run times and the what not. 


most all lasers have a set run time before they expire , and lasers all of the same wattage, will all have very similar run times.
The only variables in this are coloured impurities in the lense of the same colour as the beam that may absorb energy and pose a threat to the lense, what your run cycle is, and basically anything that the laser would rely on you to do.
green , red, violet, blue, it doesnt really matter,
take care of it well, dont let it run for more than its rated use cycle.

i have limited internet so i dont know what strengths of laser are avaliable because i didnt look, but use cycles for 1mw lasers are a max of 150 seconds on, for any colour, then 12 seconds off, to maintain a maximum life, 120 seconds for 5mw, 15 seconds off, for all colours , for 15mw 80 seconds on 15 seconds off , for 30 mw 60 second on 15 seconds off, 50 mw 45 seconds on 20 seconds off , for 100mw 30 seconds on 25 seconds off 200mw 20 seconds on 20 off and after that the times will vary depending on the heatsinks built into the laser , the brand, and overal method of manufacturing. more care is taken on 1 watt lasers, some if made simply by throwing together a battery diode and lense, can burn out and break if used for more than 12 seconds constantly, wheras some expensive brands, as i would imagin the arctic blue laser, should have run times of over a minute.

i would recomend green

green is seen more intensly than any other colour. i own a 50mw green laser and live in darwin, in which the sun is about as intense as it gets, and i can see it fine from over 300m away on buildings and such even in the middle of the day. my red 30mw laser on the otherhand can barley be seen at a distance of 30m under the same conditions.

go for green. its easier too see , and unless you want to burn stuff with your laser, there really isnt any othe rreasons to not get it instead of other coloures

to keepp a laser that has a miniscule housing cool is like running a cpu without a heatsink... if you want to keep a pen style high output laser cool, id suggest, if its within your budget, to get a pointer withe a gold plated copper heatsink... also if you are using the laser to burn i would highly suggest NOT suggeest using a green laser as it uses a crystal to convert IR to green... therefore loeing most of its heat energy…

Here's a quick summary:
PER PHOTON violet carries the most energy in the visible spectrum, red the least per photon
PER MILLIWATT of laser light, the same amount of energy is transmitted from the laser in the same time.

A dark target will absorb a larger percentage of this total light output - though on most surfaces, a greater percentage of absorption happens with violet. You can improve this absorption by darkening (sharpieing) the substance. "Green" coloured targets such as paper, are seen as green because they reflect a large percentage of green light, and so do not absorb very much of it. They should be burned using a different colour laser, or darkened with a Sharpie before burning. Same goes for other colours, but Violet can essentially burn better regardless.

One factor which is small but noticeable is that violet lasers will cause many targets to fluoresce. This glow is conversion/transformation of energy, and is not absorption - so fluorescent targets will be slightly harder to burn.

The main cause of "burning" is the total power absorbed, over the total area applied. If your laser can apply enough energy over a small enough area and have a great enough amount of energy absorbed per second, it will burn the target. This is where focusing and a steady hand come into play - when working with reasonable powers, an adjustable focus is necessary for good burning. Only higher-powered violets provide such a high energy density and high enough absorption to make focusing unnecessary (at least unless you consider lab systems, gas lasers and very high power alternatives).

and... it is my understanding that a red laser burns more effectively then a green laser of the same amplitude, is this right? and if so ho does the violet figure into it all