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Proceedings Paper

Agile laser safety glasses for protection against continuous wave laser sources
Author(s): David C. Smith
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Paper Abstract

A concept for laser safety glasses is demonstrated where the laser intensity itself introduces phase distortion on the transmitted laser beam and is therefore self-limiting. The absorbed light in the polycarbonate glass heats it and changes its index of refraction. A coating on the surface produces a non-uniform intensity pattern on the transmitted laser beam. This non-uniform intensity results in a non-uniform phase distortion which destroys the coherence of the laser and does not allow the cornea to focus the laser strongly on the retina. The absorption in the glass is the same for all laser wavelengths (the glass is sometimes referred to as a neutral density filter) and therefore the safety glasses are good for all laser wavelengths. The amount of laser absorption required to meet the ANSI standard for max allowable exposure is a transmission of 0.1% and this is experimentally verified by the data obtained. This attenuation is sufficient to protect the eye from damage until the heating and phase distortion kicks in. Once this happens, the protection is better - the higher the incident intensity. Experimental demonstration of the effectiveness of the prototype has been obtained at 488 mm (blue light) and 514 mm (green light) from an argon ion laser with laser duration from 0.04 seconds to 0.25 seconds. The data shows that as you increase the laser intensity beyond a certain value the intensity at the focus of a lens actually decreases, and further increases in intensity lowers the focal plane intensity even further. For the phase distortion safety glasses, we can calculate the transmission which meets the ANSI standard where the phase distortion is optimum. Thus our glasses not only meet the ANSI standard but provide protection for any higher laser intensity. The optical quality of the prototype was very good with no fogging, or optical distortion of transmitted laser, and after the experiment, the prototype returned to the identical optical quality with no permanent optical distortion.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 March 2007
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 6426, Ophthalmic Technologies XVII, 64262E (5 March 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.696595
Show Author Affiliations
David C. Smith, DCS Lasers & Optics LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6426:
Ophthalmic Technologies XVII
Bruce E. Stuck; Fabrice Manns; Per G. Söderberg; Michael Belkin M.D.; Arthur Ho, Editor(s)

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