Laser Pointer User Manual
Order Code: LASER
The Laser Pointer is a Class 2 diode laser with a power of less than 1 mW. The laser has a wavelength of 650 nm and is powered by two AAA batteries which are included. A touch button can be found on the side of the pointer. Press this button to turn the laser on.
- Laser Pointer
- AAA batteries (2)
Using the Laser Pointer
Lasers and laser pointers have many uses in science courses:
The Laser Pointer, when combined with a Vernier Photogate or Go Direct® Photogate, can be used to create a laser gate. All Vernier photogates have one photo diode detector positioned on the outside of the photogate. The outside detector can be used with the Laser Pointer to produce a gate wider than the 7.5 cm spacing of the photogate arms. This wide laser gate has many applications as noted below.
- You can set up a laser gate wide enough to measure the speed of an automobile or a person. You could even measure hand speed during a karate chop.
- You can set up a photogate and the Laser Pointer close to the ground. A person standing in the beam will block the gate. When they jump vertically, their hang time can be measured by the unblocking of the photogate.
- Using the arrangement described above, you could drop a ball into the laser beam. As it bounces in the beam, you can use the blocking and unblocking events to calculate the coefficient of restitution and dwell time.
- You can verify the shutter speed of a film camera by letting the beam pass through the lens and out the back of the camera.
- You can measure the speed of a motor by determining the interruptions of a beam caused by the light passing through spokes in a wheel.
The Laser Pointer can be used with interference kits to observe interference patterns. When used with a light sensor, intensity patterns can be recorded. A simple way to do this was described by Andrew DePino Jr. in The Physics Teacher (“Diffraction Patterns Using a Constant Velocity Cart”, The Physics Teacher, 40, 418-419 (October 2002). In the article, DePino describes how to attach a Vernier Light Sensor to a constant velocity car. As the car moves perpendicularly through the Laser Pointer beam, the graph of light intensity vs. time approximates a graph of light intensity vs. distance. To take the experiment one step further, you can directly measure light intensity vs. distance data by combining a light sensor with a rotary motion sensor.
Use the Laser Pointer to observe laser radiation. The radiation can be made visible in air by clapping two chalkboard erasers in the beam to create a cloud of reflecting particles.
As with any laser, caution must be exercised when using the Laser Pointer. The Laser Pointer emits laser radiation, and therefore, should not be pointed at the eye. Pay special attention to the location of the aperture, which is on the same end of the pointer as the clip. A caution label can also be found on this end of the pointer. Direct eye contact with the laser beam may cause serious injury. Students should be reminded that this is not a toy, and it should be kept out of reach of children.
To install the batteries, remove the end cap of the pointer (the end opposite the aperture). Install the 2 AAA batteries with the positive (+) end of the batteries pointing toward the open end of the case. After replacing the end cap, test the pointer by pointing the aperture toward a wall and pressing the ON/OFF touch button on the side of the pointer.
A Laser Pointer Stand (order code STAND) provides a convenient way to mount the Laser Pointer. It holds the laser in place and even holds the power button down for ease of use during an experiment.
When disposing of this electronic product, do not treat it as household waste. Its disposal is subject to regulations that vary by country and region. This item should be given to an applicable collection point for the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment. By ensuring that this product is disposed of correctly, you help prevent potential negative consequences on human health or on the environment. The recycling of materials will help to conserve natural resources. For more detailed information about recycling this product, contact your local city office or your disposal service.
Battery recycling information is available at www.call2recycle.org
Do not puncture or expose the battery to excessive heat or flame.
The symbol, shown here, indicates that this product must not be disposed of in a standard waste container.