School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Laser Safety

The lasers in use in Lecture Demonstrations are predominantly Helium Neon Class 2 lasers. Class 2 lasers are not intrinsically safe but eye protection is normally afforded by aversion responses including the blink reflex. The demonstrations have been designed with safety in mind however it is still your responsibility to inform students of the dangers inherent in the device and that responsible care should be taken when using these devices.

If your demonstration requires lasers of a power rating greater than 1mW the following safety precautions need to be observed.

· The direct beam and its direct reflection must not be allowed to enter the seating area of students.

· Appropriate beam stops must be in place.

· Safety keys must be operated by trained personnel only.

· If you are modifying a standard laser demonstration discuss details with the Lecture demonstration technician to ensure safety concerns are considered.

· Ensure that a laser safety sign is clearly displayed with the apparatus.

Never look directly down the beam of a laser.

A 1 mW laser beam will be focused by the eye down to an area of 8 x 10-6 mm2 producing an intensity of 122 W/mm2.

Ensure that a laser safety sign is always clearly displayed with the apparatus.

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