Laser Safety
07 Oct 2021








There are many lasers in the CLF that can cause permanent damage to the eye or burns to the skin through even a momentary exposure to the beam or reflected beam.

Lasers emit radiation at wavelengths spanning the ultraviolet (UV) to the far infrared (IR). For lasers in the visible or near infrared part of the spectrum, there is a particular risk of damage to the retina of the eye and permanent visual impairment.

The power of laser beams, particularly pulsed lasers, can be so high that not only the main beam, but also weak reflections and diffusely scattered radiation, can be hazardous. Constant awareness is needed.

In a research laboratory there may be multiple lasers operating at different wavelengths, from the UV through the visible and IR. What may seem to be a steady beam may be a pulsed laser operating at a high pulse repetition rate, with peak powers in the individual pulses that are more than a million times the average power of the beam. What may seem to be weak blue or red beams may be operating at wavelengths at the extreme of the visual response range of the eye, where the eye's sensitivity is several thousand times below its peak sensitivity. UV and IR beams cannot be seen at all.

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Contact: Clarke, Rob (STFC,RAL,CLF)