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Green vs. Red Laser: What are the differences?

If you observe all the lasers in the market today, you’d notice that they have a variety of colors.

There’s a scientific explanation of why laser pointers can have different colors. The different colors are mainly based on their wavelength (or frequency). It can also be contributed by the materials used to produce the lasers.

Read on to find out what best explains why a laser beam might appear green and another, red. Also, you can figure out how these lasers with different colors are produced. (e.g. green vs red laser)

What are the differences?

What best explains why one laser beam might appear green and another appears red lies on their wavelength. As stated previously, a laser’s wavelength or frequency is responsible for its color.

infographic about light spectrum including visible range

If you see the chart above, red and blue lasers lay on opposite ends of the curve. Blue lasers have a wavelength ranging from 400 to 500nm with only 3% visibility to the human eyes.

Meanwhile, red lasers have a wavelength with a range of 650 to 700 with a visibility of 24%. Green laser, on the other hand, possesses the most visibility ranging from 88% to 100%. However, they don’t have the highest wavelength, placing at 532 to 555 nanometers on the wavelength scale.

On the far left and far-right side of the curve, we have ultraviolet and infrared respectively. Ultraviolet has a wavelength of 193-337nm while infrared has a wavelength of up to 10,000nm. This makes these two laser lights invisible to the naked human eye as the range of visibility for the human eyes is 390-780nm.

During the stimulated emission stage, the energy of the photon produced contributes to what the laser color will be. So, the higher energy photons that are produced, the shorter the wavelength of the light will be. This means blue laser lights produce high energy photons while red laser lights produce lower energy photons.

Lasers - Wavelength (nm) Explained

What do different color lasers do?

These different-colored laser pointers are used for various reasons and in various places.

For instance, the red laser pointer, which is the most popular type of laser pointer, can be used for casual use.

This includes during presentations, for light photography, science experiments, to entertain your pets, and more.

This is because red laser pointers of less than 5mW can cause the least amount of potential damage.

On the other hand, since green laser pointers are generally more visible and powerful than red laser pointers, its uses are more focused and specific.

For example, green laser pointers are used for astronomy, especially stargazing. The green laser is brighter, can also be visible during daytime, and the light can go for longer distances than red lasers.

a green laser pointer for astronomy

The green laser is also used as the laser sight for guns and rifles.

Next, yellow and orange lights are typically used in hospitals. They can help treat viral infections sclerosis, and even psychological illnesses like panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and depression.

Aside from treating major injuries and mental sicknesses, yellow lasers can also be found in skin and aesthetic clinics. It helps get rid of acne, stimulates collagen production, reduces redness and inflammation, and promotes new skin growth.

Blue lasers possess a shorter wavelength than all the other colors. This means blue laser beams can have a stronger focus or resolution.

Because of its stronger focus, blue lasers are typically used in interferometers such as laser printers, compact discs, data recording, digital photofinishing, and DVD or CD players.

Now that you have the gist of why some lasers appear blue and some appear red, you can choose a laser pointer with the color that is most suitable for you.

FAQs

What is the advantage of a green laser over a red laser?

While red lasers are a safer option (as mentioned, it can be used to play with your pets), other activities require a stronger and more visible laser.

It makes you wonder, what specific properties and functions do green lasers have that make it a better option than the red laser?

As mentioned above, green lasers are more visible so it can be seen even at night. In fact, it’s about 50 times brighter than the red ones.

Another thing worth mentioning is that green lasers use more energy. This means that it can travel further away in comparison to red lights.

But just how far, you ask? Well, it can reach up to 9,000 feet away! So it’s fantastic for open spaces.

That said, being so bright and powerful, it’s important to be careful and wear protective eyewear. If you’re using it, be sure to never point it toward a person!

Why is a green laser more expensive than a red laser?

You can probably infer that green lasers are more expensive to produce. With more visibility and energy, the materials and way it is made different from the red lasers.

First off, green lasers are more complex to create. Therefore, manufacturing requires more care and time to create. Besides, it also requires more space.

Another reason why it’s so expensive is that there’s more research backing red lasers. It’s easily mass-produced and used for some everyday items like CD players.

On the other hand, the research behind green lasers isn’t as great in comparison. Therefore, to create green lasers for other purposes other than for shooting, additional research has to be made.

Of course, this requires adequate funding, which is another reason why it is more expensive.

Compare green vs red laser sights

Speaking of lasers for shooting, there’s also a difference in terms of choosing a green or red laser sight.

Now, there are various brands and products on the market, but let’s strip it down to the basics first. Let’s start with the color of the laser.

Green laser sights

To be a fantastic shooter, you need to be accurate. Lasers are great tools to help you improve on this.

If you’re shooting in a bright environment, the green laser would be better because it’s powerful and easier to see.

While green lasers are more powerful, the downside is that it’s more expensive and difficult to build. It’s also bulkier, which can be a downside in some circumstances.

Plus, it also requires a lot of power. It’s going to empty batteries quicker than red lasers.

Red laser sights

On the other hand, red lasers are cheaper, easier to build, and easier to get in the market. Aside from being economic, it’s also lighter and more compact.

The downside is that it’s isn’t as powerful or easy to see in bright environments.


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