An accurate, inexpensive test bed for measurements of optical power emitted from handheld lasers is described. Our test bed consists of a thermopile detector, bandpass optical filters, an adjustable iris, and self-centering holders for mounting of the handheld lasers. This test bed serves as a quick and inexpensive method for evaluating the compliance of a laser pointers power output with the upper power limits imposed by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Measurements on a random sample of 23 Class 3R laser pointers yielded a compliance rate of only 26%. A discussion of potential laser pointer hazards is included.
Measurement Science & Technology
laser metrology, laser pointers, laser safety