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The inherent danger in laser safety eyewear

1 April 1990


I have designed an experiment which explained why the filter in a laser protective eyewear could crack under prolonged contact to a laser beam. My hypothesis stated that the nonlinearity of absorption of light played an important role in the failure of the filter. Using a xeon-arc lamp, a photoconductive cell, a multimeter and filters that consisted of 0 to 15 blue transparency(ies), I indirectly measured the amount of light that these filter absorbed. From the data I affirmed my hypothesis. If a laser beam hit an actual protective filter, because of the nonlinearity of absorption, the front surfaces of the filters would absorb much more laser light than the back surfaces. thus the front would heat up and expand more quickly than the back causing the filter to crack. Because future optometrists will need to learn the practical significance of the nonlinear process of absorption, I have also incorporated my experimental procedure into a physical optics experiment.


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