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Source for inexpensive, reliable <5mW green and blue laser diodes

LitKit

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Hi,

I am not a laser expert/hobbyist, but for a research project it turns out I will need need a steady source of inexpensive ($20-ish or less) and reliable <5mW 488 and/or 532 nm laser diodes (as close to 5mW as possible). I have tried purchasing several from Amazon, Digikey and other sites, but all of the ones I have found are either expensive, break easily, or turn out to be >5mW when they arrive (which poses serious safety concerns for us). Does anyone have any recommendations? Ideally something that looks sort of like this, but good quality and with faster shipping.

To clarify, I am not looking for a fully-built laser pointer; just the diode and possibly the driver chip that would come with it. I've noticed that most of the commercial laser diodes we've seen come with two lenses built-in (to expand the beam?). Those are good, and it would be great if they were included.

Thank you so much in advance!
 
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paul1598419

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The laser you linked to is not a direct diode laser. It is a diode pumped solid state laser and is 532nm in wavelength, which is a green with slight yellow tinges. If you will look at the driver board for this laser, the PCB on the back of the laser, you will find a pot that is used to adjust the pump power of the laser and can be set for powers from 80 mW down to 5 mW if you so desire. These can be had more cheaply on Fasttech in quantities of 5 or more for about $4.00 each. You will have a steep learning curve if you want to make this work.
 

BowtieGuy

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I agree with Paul, Fasttech would probably be your best bet for 532nm diode/driver combo's in the price range that you have specified. :yh:
I'm sure you won't find any 488nm diodes at this price.

You will also need an LPM to measure your output as you adjust the pot on the driver.

Good luck in your search.
 

paul1598419

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The cheapest 488nm diodes are Sharp 490nm diodes that have been binned by wavelength. About 1 in 5 are in this range, so it will cost you from $60 to $90 each for them if you can find them. I have binned these diodes in the past for members who sell them by wavelength. I'd stick to the green as it is much more common and therefore are far less expensive.
 

Gazen

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If you're selling products that contain lasers, you'll need a calibrated, expensive laser power meter to test them. Keep in mind that laser diodes are fragile, there is no waterproof-drop proof kind. They are sensitive to ESD and impact.
 

ZRaffleticket

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The sharp 488s are $40/pc when buying from the cheapest supplier I know of straight from China, in batches of 500. Those are the cheapest 488s we've ever had, and they just arrived after months of waiting. Afraid that's the best option you have, running those very low. And that wouldn't be including the driver board unfortunately.

450nm diodes might be more doable but that's a deep blue instead of cyan.
 

paul1598419

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Yes, they will sell you a run of diodes at a specific wavelength if you buy the entire run, but seeing how that is a lot of pieces I didn't mention that option. Of course after spending $20,000 on diodes you will still have to pair them with modules, lenses and a driver, host and batteries.
 

LitKit

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Fantastic, thanks so much to all of you! I kind of figured that 488nm would be unworkable; that's all right, we can make do with just 532. I found some 532nm laser modules that look good on the website you guys recommended (FastTech) and will definitely order them.

Thank you for the tip about adjusting the laser power. I will definitely look into that. We have access to a good-quality laser power meter so I do not think that part will be an issue.
 

paul1598419

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When measuring powers as low as 5 mW, it usually takes a specific laser power meter to get accurate results. But, if you are just trying to ball park it, you can sometimes get by without a low power one.
 




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