is that a laser in your pocket?

June 27, 2006 at 7:08 pm | | literature, nerd, news


This letter in J. Chem. Phys. reports using a red laser pointer (the kind you get on keychains) as a ultra-cheap excitation source for spectroscopy. Here are the first few lines of the letter:

To get straight to the point of this note, Fig. 1 shows I2 absorption spectra recorded on a UV-visible spectrophotometer (Shimadzu UV2101PC), using as light source an inexpensive key-chain-type red laser pointer (< $5, from China, but no stated manufacturer). Other measurements show that >98% of the light produced by these devices comes in a single longitudinal mode. The spectral resolution exceeds that in the comparison spectrum, which was obtained with a very high quality Fourier transform instrument.

Years ago, members of Moerner lab used a green laser pointer as a 532-nm excitation source and imaged single-molecules. I just love when toys start to surpass high-end technology.

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