Technology

This section is to explain laser technology and features and put them into the context of the benefits they bring to the laser owner, operator and audience.

Understanding what's important

So that you can tell whether a laser has useful features or merely extra "bells and whistles", some basic understanding of the fundamentals of laser technology is useful.

Features

Some of the key features of lasers explained:

Output power

Laser manufacturers often publish the power of a laser as the sum of the maximum rating of the diodes. Neo-Laser builds lasers to exceed a minimum output power and measures them to ensure it is met.

Colour

The human eye perceives colours differently, being more sensitive to green than the other laser colours. This means that green lasers look up to 4 times more powerful, and to produce a balanced white, much less green is required.

TEC

Thermal Electric Cooling is more efficient than air-cooling. More effective cooling keeps the laser bright for longer, broadens the temperature operating range and lengthens the life of the laser.

Flex control

In-built workflow circuitry allowing you to run the laser by multiple control methods simultaneously

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DMX

A DMX interface allows the laser to be controlled with a standard lighting controller. The number of channels indicates the degree of control available. DMX connections may also be used for master/slave linking.

Scan system

The sophistication of the scan system determines the how well a laser can display moving shapes and patterns, graphics and text

ILDA DB25 connector

This standard 25-pin connector means the laser show can be programmed and controlled with industry-standard software such as Pangolin's Lasershow Designer or Live Pro.

USB live control

A USB interface (along with control software supporting it) can give as much sophistication as the ILDA DB25 interface without an extra computer card. As well as saving money on hardware, this allows use of a laptop.

Blanking

Blanking is shutting the laser beam off as required to draw images and effects. As a product feature, it usually refers to mechanical blocking or deflection of the beam (eg by a scanner).

Master/slave linkable

Master/slave linking allows multiple units to coordinate their execution of built-in patterns and programs without requiring an external controller.

Modulation

Modulation varies the intensity of the laser source and is used in colour mixing and the projection of sophisticated effects. Control over beam intensity varies from on/off for simple TTL, through 8-bit TTL to any variation with analog.

Sound-active

A product that is sound-active has built-in microphone and can respond to sound (eg. music) in executing built-in patterns and programs without an external controller.