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Chapter 8:
Special Lasers and Applications
Abstract
From a laser safety perspective, fiber optics is a great tool. Optical fibers can transmit from microwatts to kilowatts of output, and you can hold an optical fiber in your hands. Beware that the outside jacketing on a fiber has no relationship to the energy being transmitted in the fiber. The outside jacketing is there only to protect the fiber from environmental factors such as moisture. The majority of laser incidents involving optical fibers are not eye injuries but rather injuries caused by fiber slithers. The major safety concern that fiber presents is the double edge. On one hand, fibers provide an enclosure for the laser radiation, and unless the fiber ends with a microlens, the divergence from fibers is very high-high enough that the hazard zone from the end of the fiber is usually less than 20 cm (low-power source). This means that unless one holds the fiber up to an eye, laser safety is rather high. The flip side of fibers is user overconfidence because it is so challenging to injure oneself. The majority of injuries related to fiber work involve people being stabbed by fiber ends or getting them on their fingers and then transferring them by touch to the mouth or eyes.
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CHAPTER 8


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