Green is Good

January 25, 2023
By Alpec
A graph demonstrating the human eye’s relative sensitivity to color and why green laser pointers are more expensive than red laser pointers.

We are not entirely sure who first said “green is good” (was it the sustainably-minded, off-screen twin of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko in the 1987 movie “Wall Street”?) but we’re pretty sure he wasn’t talking about lasers. But why not?

Green lasers are up to thirty times more visible to the human eye than red lasers of the same output power. As you can see on the chart above, humans can see green across a vast swath of the color spectrum. You could even say our eyes are designed very well to see a range of green. Perhaps this is why green is one of the most popular colors of laser pointer Alpec sells. In the realm of visible light and laser pointers, green is good.

Red versus Green Laser Wavelength

“Oh,” you might say, “I see that you sell green and red lasers. What is the difference?”  It’s in the science. Red lasers are produced using a simple semiconductor diode – two semiconductors one on top of the other – to produce light. In Alpec’s red lasers, the light that emerges from this simple diode is in wavelengths of 635 and 650 nanometers. That is, your eye will translate that wavelength information and see it as red light. Pretty straightforward, right?

To produce a green laser, the wavelength must be much lower, or below 600 nanometers. Doing that is much more complicated than putting two semiconductors next to each other. Without going full science nerd on you (for a more detailed explanation on electron currents from semiconductors, look here to read up on the basics of laser pointers), the explanation for green laser light goes like this: That 700-800 nanometer light that humans see as red? To make the light green, the light has to go through a two-step process to change its wavelength: it must first be converted to 1,000 nanometers using a crystal and then it goes through a second specialized crystal that brings the wavelength to about 532 nanometers, a true green for us laser nerds.

Those semiconductors in the red laser? Those plus the special crystals are all packed into a green laser pointer. That is a lot of hardware to hold in your hand!

New Projection Targets and Green Lasers

Here is another reason you may prefer a green laser: the changing technology of modern LED and flat panel TV screens. Designed to dissipate or “swallow” ambient light, most newer TVs are mch brighter than previous TV screens. In fact, newer flat panel screens are made exactly because many people were frustrated when their laser pointer light was barely visible on older screens. Bright is in! (Note that this is not an issue with low-tech white boards projector screens.) 

If your red pointer is barely visible on the screen you are using, you should have more success with a green laser as it is 30 times more visible to the human eye. Green doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but you should notice a visible difference between the two.

With so many TV models on the market, you won’t know how your laser pointer will work until you give it a try. 

Which Laser Pointer is Right for Your Business?

When choosing a laser pointer, consider this: Red can do almost everything that green can do. And Alpec’s Spectra Red Laser Pointer pen is a high quality, durable laser pointer that sells for only $27.99. Our basic green pointer, the Emerald Green Laser Pointer, is $72.50.  Or kill two birds with one stone with our multipurpose Red and Green Laser Pointer.

 All of Alpec’s laser pointers are premium quality – we don’t make a cheap green laser pointer. The difference in price is the technology. You are paying more for the high visibility of green light to the human eye and for the goodies inside each green laser pointer pen.

Our Guarantee

No matter which laser pointer you choose, Alpec stands behind our products. Got questions? We’ve got answers. We are also keen to hear any jokes you know about crystals or semiconductors. We want to laugh at our own expense, too! Please send any laser pointer jokes our way and we promise to credit you if we post the joke to our blog.