A laser (Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is a beam of coherent light that is man made and not found in nature. You can demonstrate the inherent power of a laser by enabling an inexpensive laser pointer to project the laser light it creates at its full intensity. The procedure involves deactivating the circuit board that limits the output of the laser light and can be done by anyone who feels comfortable using a soldering iron. The “burning” laser pointer will not be the stuff of mad scientists, but it will demonstrate how powerful a laser light can be at very close distances.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Phillips jeweller's screwdriver
- Needle nosed pliers
- Soldering iron
- Bonding glue
- Spray bottle
Put the newspaper down on a work surface. Remove the battery cap and the batteries from the laser pointer. Put the battery cap and the batteries aside.
Hold the laser pointer in your right hand. Grab the front of the laser pointer with the pliers in the left hand (reverse this for "lefties"). Twist the pliers to separate the front case of the laser pointer from the back case. Pull the front case off and put it aside.
Use the needle nosed pliers in the right hand to grab the laser assembly in the back case. Pull the laser assembly out of the back case and put it down on the newspaper. Put the back case aside.
Heat the soldering iron. Touch the tip of the soldering iron on the small square circuit board directly above the lone silver screw on the laser assembly. Remove the tip of the soldering iron after 10 seconds have passed.
Use the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver to turn the silver screw on the laser assembly a quarter turn counter-clockwise.
Reassemble the laser assembly inside of the back case of the laser pointer. Apply bonding glue to the rim of the front case. Place the front case against the back case and hold it till the bonding glue sets.
Put tap water into the spray bottle and put it down on the newspaper. Insert the batteries into the battery compartment of the laser pointer. Close the battery compartment cap.
Aim the laser pointer at the newspaper from a couple of inches away. Press the button to turn on the laser. Release the button when the newspaper begins to smoulder from the burning laser you have made. Spray the newspaper with water.
Tips and warnings
- Wear protective goggles while using the laser pointer that you have turned into a "burning" laser.
- A laser pointer, regardless of the intensity, must never be aimed at a person's face since the light could be harmful to the eye's retina.
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