Laser safety windows are an important part of a laser safety system and can be used in a variety of applications. They are commonly available in glass or acrylic and are typically ordered as a stock size, for installation as a viewing window, or as a custom size, for applications like optical table enclosures.
Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to consider your specific application before deciding upon a filter. Here is a brief description of acrylic and glass windows and sheets, their common uses, and their strengths and weaknesses:
- Acrylic laser windows are typically used when larger sizes and shapes are needed.
- Acrylic offers good scratch resistance and superior optical clarity.
- Acrylic is easily cut to special shapes and sizes, even particularly large ones.
- When custom coverage ranges are needed and cannot be accomplished through a combination of glass filters, acrylic is typically the material used to develop the new filter.
- Glass laser windows are typically used when higher optical densities (OD) and visual light transmission (VLT) are needed.
- Glass has the best scratch resistance compared to acrylic as well as excellent optical clarity.
- Glass laser windows are easier to customize with regard to thickness, and glass filters can often be combined, unlike acrylic.
- Glass is not typically available in large sizes.
If you are ever unsure about what you need for your laser system or what can be accomplished, you shouldn’t hesitate to call us so we can discuss what’s best for you. Procuring and installing laser safety windows to fit your system is a precise task, and our staff has experience with a variety of laser systems. Your safety is the primary concern when installing a laser or updating a laser enclosure, so we hope this article helps you make safer, more informed decisions to keep you protected around your laser.