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Blu-ray Violet Laser Module, retail $350.00
Modified/Built by: C.L.
Last updated 03-09-13

(In reference to the small box I received from C.L. around 2:27pm PDT on 04-07-07):
{sung like the Foreigner song "Feels Like the First Time"}

This is a unique violet-emitting laser module made out of a Sony Blu-ray laser diode and a Dorcy 1xAAA LED flashlight. The driver circuit (boost inverter) from the Dorcy flashlight was slightly modified to feed the laser diode the correct voltage and current, and to "snub out" the voltage spikes from the coil in there (~50 volts!!!) that would be DEADLY to the laser diode.

As I stated earlier, it uses a Sony Blu-Ray laser diode that is reported to output 5mW to 7mW of laser radiation at 404-407nm (nominally 405nm) in the violet part of the spectrum. Because it is at the violet end of the spectrum, it will not be as visible mW-per-mW as blue, green, or yellow laser pointers, but the color is absolutely gorgeous, and is very radiant and unusual for a handheld laser. The laser diode was cannibalised from a Sony Play Station 3 optics sled assembly that I purchased on Ebay for $88.03 on 03-22-07 and that I received on 03-31-07.

This is the first time I've ever seen a violet laser - diode or otherwise.
My sister tells me that this is her favourite color - guess I'd better get lots of AAA cells ready.

Photographs of the PS3 laser sled and the Dorcy 1xAAA host body.
The actual laser diode is in that thing bridging the center of the laser sled.

This modification is homemade, and will not be rated like a commercial laser.


To get the laser to turn on, first be certain that there is an AAA cell installed. If there isn't, then install one (see directly below), and THEN you can go irradiate something. Turn the tailcap clockwise (tighten) until it lights. Turn it counterclockwise (loosen) around half a turn and it ought to shut off. The flashlight host body is designed so you can't accidentally overtighten the tailcap; the laser beam will come on when you tighten it all the way, but no harm will be done.

To get a shot of violet laser radiation anytime (momentary mode), push the black plastic end of the tailcap, and violet laser radiation should pour out of the other end. Release the button and it should shut off. This laser also has a LOTC (Lock Out Tail Cap), which you can activate by unscrewing the tailcap approximately 1 1/4 turns from the "on" position. This means you can pack it in a duffel bag, suitcase, or box and it won't turn itself on and waste the battery. The laser is not powerful enough to burn or ignite anything, so at least you can eliminate that worry.

There's a small loop on the tailcap, so you can hang the laser from nails in the wall, attach it to the lanyard of your choise to hang it around your neck, or hang it from tree branches or tent ceiling apexes.

To change the battery in this Blu-ray laser module modification, just unscrew & remove the tailcap, and dump the dead battery in the nearest garbage can - or the dead battery box, if your community has a battery reclamation program in place. Insert a single new AAA cell in the barrel, positive (+) button-end first. Replace the tailcap, and back it off a bit after the the laser turns on. This is opposite of how the batteries are installed in most other lasers, so please pay attention to polarity here.

Current usage measures 196mA on my DMM's 4A scale.

The Dorcy 1-LED flashlight host for this unique laser module feels nice in the hand both because of its small size and the ribbed rubber cover over the barrel. The tailcap switch can be rotated with just one hand (the same one holding the laser), so you don't need to use them both to turn this laser on and off. It's actually quite comfortable and fits the hand nicely.

This is a laser module, not a flashlight. So I won't whack it against a steel rod or against the concrete floor of a patio, run over it, intentionally try to drown it in the toylet, throw it, stomp on it, or subject it to other abuses that a flashlight might have to endure.

This is a directly-injected laser though, who's active components are the inverter circuit, the laser diode, and the collimating lens. So it should withstand accidents better than a DPSS (diode pumped solid state) laser - the type of laser assembly found in yellow (593.5nm), green (532nm) and blue (473nm) laser pointers. These lasers have several additional components (crystals, filters, etc.) in the optical train, and you can knock them out of alignment by doing little more than looking at them the wrong way. And if any of these components are knocked out of whack, you'll no longer get your yellow, green, or blue laser beam.
Though you still do not want to intentionally drop your Blu-ray laser because it's a precision optical instrument.

Water resistance is not stated on the packaging of the original Dorcy host, but a suction test against the tailcap showed the laser held a vaccume, and should do alright if you ***ACCIDENTALLY*** drop it in sinks (with shallow water), tubs (with shallow water), wall-mounted porcelain urinators (with shallow water or pee), mud puddles, rivers (with shallow water), snowbanks, piles of slush, and other places where shallow water might be found. There are O-rings sealing both the head and tailcap, and they ought to be at least good enough to allow you to use the laser in light rain or snow and not have to worry too much about it.

The momentary tailcap button did raise an itty bitty little red flag for me though. Like its big brothers, the instructions for the original flashlight used for this laser say you should have the tailcap unscrewed 1/2 a turn from the constant on position in order to use the momentary tailcap button, I found it better for me to unscrew the tailcap around 1/8 of a turn (or even a bit less) from constant on, then I could use the momentary tailcap button with no loose or wobbly feeling from the tailcap. This seems to be common with all the Dorcy LED lights I've tried, so I don't think it's anything to worry about.
As usual, your mileage may and probably will vary. Just play with it until it feels right for you.

The laser diode in this modifed flashlight/laser pointer is a gain-guided MQW (multiple quantum well) multimode unit.

The beam emerges from this laser larger in diameter than is usual for pointer-style lasers, but the beam "waist" (the smallest beam diameter) occurs much farther away than I can measure. At ~18 feet, the beam diameter is smaller than it is at the laser aperture.

Even though this laser is just barely into CDRH Class IIIb territory, the photons generated by it are much higher in energy than the photons generated by a red laser of equivalent power, so you definitely do not want to shine it into your eyes, other people's eyes, pets' eyes, for that matter, the eyes of any person or animal you encounter. Eye damage can occur faster than the blink reflex can protect them, regardless of what species' eyes you irradiate with this laser. So just don't do it.
And para los motivos de Cristo (and for heaven sakes and for Pete sakes and for your sakes too) do not shine this laser at any vehicle, whether ground-based like a motorcycle, car, or truck, or air-based like a helicopter, airplane, or jet. And if you shoot it at a person in the dark and he turns out to be a police officer, he may think he's being targeted, unholster (pull out) his gun, and hose you down with it.

EXTREMELY, VERY, SUPER DOOPER IMPORTANT!!! I know I just said this, but it bears repeating: You MUST NOT shine it in your eyes, not even when the unit's battery has pooped out and it is below lasing threshold!!!!!!!!! You will have bright, long-lasting (several days!!!) afterimages if you do!!! The human eye was not designed for wavelengths much below 420nm in the blue-violet region of the spectrum.

The laser diode used in this device is capable of delivering 20mW or even more, but it is significantly underdriven here so it will be a happy diode and live a long, comfortable life.

This is a wonderful little laser, and to use "1337 5p34k" ("leet speak"), "this laser ROXORS!!!"
If I could award a star rating on non-commercial products, I'm certain I'd award this product five full stars!!!

Beam photograph of this unique laser on the test target at 12".
That white & blue color does not really exist; the spot appears to be a very deep royal purple to the eye.
Digital cameras have a tough time at these wavelengths.

And yes, I know that the colors purple and violet are two different critters, but the phrase "royal violet"
would not make very much sense; however, most everybody knows what "royal purple" looks like.
Purple is a mixture of red & blue; violet is a spectral color, encompassing wavelengths of ~390nm to ~410nm.

Measures 8.82mW on a laser power meter specifically designed for this purpose.

Power measurement taken on a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile.
Tops out at 13mW.

Beam photograph on a wall at ~10'.
Again, that white & blue color does not really exist.

Those rectangular graphic things near the top are marquees from:
Midway ''Omega Race''
Sega ''Star Trek''
Williams ''Joust''
Venture Line ''Looping''
Universal ''Mr. Do!'s Castle''
Jaleco ''Exerion''
Gremlin/Sega ''Astro Blaster''
Atari ''Tempest''
Gottlieb ''Q*bert''

upright coin-op arcade video games from the 1980s.

Beam photograph comparing this laser with a Sonar.
The Sonar is the spot on the right.

Those rectangular graphic things near the upper left quadrant of this photograph are marquees from:
Venture Line ''Looping''
Jaleco ''Exerion''
Atari ''Tempest''

upright coin-op arcade video games from the 1980s.

And that graphic toward the right is:
A "BIG SCARY LASER" poster sent by

Beam photograph on a structure ~200 feet away.
Photograph was taken at 8:56pm PDT 06-29-07. 14x zoom was used.
The blue color does not actually exist.
Beam spot appears large because the laser's divergence is a little on the high side.

Beam comparison photograph with this laser and a Sonar.
Both photographs were taken at the same distance (~200 feet) with 14x zoom.
This laser is on the left, the Sonar is on the right.

This tells me that a single lens may not be up to the job; better collimation may be achieved with multiple lenses, but there
is a trade-off: beam diameter at closer ranges will be much larger than desired, so this is a perfectly acceptable compromise.

Beam causing fluorescence in green plastic Christmas light covers.

Beam causing fluorescence in the green part of a remote control for an RC vehicle I got for my birthday in 2006.

Comparison of this laser module and the Sonar causing salmon-colored
fluorescence in a compact fluorescent light bulb.
This Blu-ray laser's wavelength is 409.4nm, and the Sonar's wavelength is 404.6nm.
The difference is *MUCH MORE* pronounced in real life.

Beam photograph with the laser positioned at a distance of ~35 feet.
Yet again, that white & blue color does not really exist.

Beam spot comparisons of five lasers.
From left to right:
This violet laser, red laser, blue laser, yellow laser, and green laser.

Beam fired through a pair of argon laser safety goggles.
The yellow color is the goggles themselves; the goggles do not actually transmit any visible radiation.

Beam spot on the patio floor on a sunny late-spring day here in Sacramento CA. USA.

Beam photograph of this laser and the Sonar.
The Sonar is on the right - note the pulsed operation.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in this product....well, it's not really a product, but a modification of one.
Wavelength appears to be ~408nm, which is within specification for this laser diode.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in this device, above lasing threshold.
In this plot, the spectrometer's response band was narrowed to a range of 385nm to 435nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in this laser; newer spectrometer software & settings used.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in this laser; newer spectrometer software & settings used.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 400nm and 415nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is ~408.650nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of this laser; newest spectrometer software settings used.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of this laser; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 403nm and 412nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 406.007nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectral line halfwidth (FWHM) analysis of this laser; halfwidth is ~1.40nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in this device, right at lasing threshold.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in this device, right at lasing threshold.
In this plot, the spectrometer's response band was narrowed to a range of 385nm to 435nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence in a Team Edge Radio-Control GyroMax remote control unit when irradiating it with this laser.
The laser line is at the far left; the fluorescence hump is broadband and just to the left of the chart's center.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the Blu-ray laser diode in the replacement (received 07-21-07), above lasing threshold.
In this plot, the spectrometer's response band was narrowed to a range of 405nm to 415nm.
Wavelength appears to be 408.1nm, and spectral line halfwidth appears to be ~2.4nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of a uranated* glass marble when irradiated with this laser.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of a uranated* glass marble when irradiated with this laser; newer spectrometer software & settings used.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of a uranated* glass marble when irradiated with this laser; newer spectrometer software & settings used.

*"Uranated" - infused with an oxide of uranium, *NOT* peed on.
Commonly referred to as "Vaseline glass" because it has
a distinct pale yellow-green color when not being irradiated.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of a piece of green acrylic when irradiated with this laser.

Spectrographic analysis
Fluorescence of the outer casing of the AB Moonbeams Nightlight when irradiated with this laser.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

As you can plainly see, the ProMetric does not do very well when it comes
to beam-profiling (performing beam cross-sectional analyses of) lasers.

And here's a photograph of an Exveemon plush with this laser. Exveemon is blue, and has a weapon called a "Vee Laser".
Veemon, digivolve to...EXVEEMON!!!

The Vee Laser isn't blue (and this laser isn't either {it's violet} — it's called a "Blu-ray" laser), but Exveemon himself is,
so I believed it appropriate for this web page.

Test unit was built by C.L. using a Sony Blu-ray laser diode from an optical platform assembly (a replacement laser sled for the Sony Play Station 3) I purchased on Ebay on 03-22-07 (and received on 03-31-07) & a Dorcy 1xAAA LED flashlight, and was received on the afternoon of 04-07-07.

UPDATE: 04-10-07
I have been told that you should not use Energizer L92 lithium AAA cells in this product. Although the inverter should keep the laser diode happy, the inverter circuit itself *MAY* overload and burn out due to the increased voltage and current generated from one of these cells. And since the entire assembly is potted in epoxy, if you fry the inverter circuitry, you'll lose your nice expen$ive Blu-ray laser diode too.

UPDATE: 04-11-07
I'm already on my fourth battery; the batteries don't croak quickly — I've just been using the laser much, much more than I've used any laser to date.

UPDATE: 04-12-07
Two nights in a row, when the laser was rapidly waved about and directed at the ceiling, I could swear I saw small black areas in the beam that would indicate quasi-CW operation, but when I tested it with an oscilloscope, I did not see any breaks in the beam — meaning that this laser is true CW and I was just seeing things.

UPDATE: 04-13-07
The rubber covering on the barrel can be removed if desired.
Here is a photograph showing just that.

UPDATE: 04-15-07
I received an email this afternoon with the suggestion that battery rattle might have been responsible for the black spaces in the beam that I alluded to in my 04-12-07 update above. The following is the response that I sent her:

I had already discounted battery rattle quite early on for the following three reasons:

1: The unit produced the black areas regardless of how it was waved.
2: The black areas were far too regularly spaced apart to be caused by battery rattle.
3: No audible battery rattle is present even when the unit is vigorously shaken — whether it is on or off.

Your reasoning is logical and is quite sound, but I do not believe it to be the case in this particular instance.

UPDATE: 04-16-07
I tested it with an oscilloscope again (as my former housemate might have said, "just to be sure it's Westinghouse"), and again, found no evidence of pulsed operation. The breaks I see in the beam after dark are well within AF (audio frequency) range, so it's well within range of both my oscilloscope and my detection device — a silicon PV cell in this case.

UPDATE: 04-21-07
I've been through approximately eight AAA cells thus far. As I stated earlier, it's not because this laser is a dry cell hog (battery pig), it's because I've used it far more than any other laser I've had, including my much beloved blue laser pointer.

UPDATE: 04-28-07
At 8:38pm PDT on 04-27-07, I shined it at a white portion of a structure ~200 feet away, and saw the spot. A high pressure sodium vapour lamp was in operation ~20 feet from the target, but it was not actually illuminating the target. I confirmed that I saw the beam spot by observing the target area with a monocular, and saw it through that too.

UPDATE: 05-05-07
You ***MUST NOT*** shine this in your eye — not even when the unit is below lasing threshold!!!
You will have bright afterimages that can persist for up to several DAYS...yes, I learned this the hard way .

UPDATE: 05-09-07
The cost of blue-violet laser diodes (not including optics, driver circuitry, or casing) was upwards of $3,000.00 not that many years ago, so the price has come way down.

UPDATE: 05-19-07
Power output does not exceed 5.640mW — three new alkaline AAA cells were tried for this test.

UPDATE: 05-21-07
I have sent this laser to a laser expert on the east coast of the United States, because he has never used or even seen a Blu-ray laser before. I trust him implicitly; I also sent him my 100mW Blue DPSS Laser and my Yellow DPSS Laser.
Expect it and the other lasers to be gone for two to three weeks.

UPDATE: 05-22-07
The shipment of lasers to the east coast of the US has been delayed by almost two weeks; the bank is not depositing a large ($700.00) check until 06-04-07 — they've taken it upon themselves to punish me for "several overdrafts during the last six months" (their words, not mine). I do not have the money to mail the box right now — not even by Priority Mail — let alone overnight mail.

Therefore, I removed it from the box and ran it through my brand spanken new oscilloscope (paid for with Paypal funds) to check for quasi-CW operation, and as I did with the old oscilloscope, found no evidence of that; it's CW all the way.

UPDATE: 05-23-07
The black rubbery band on the bezel kept coming off, so late last night, I superglued it into place.
It appears to be stable now — that is, it isn't just coming loose or coming off anymore.

UPDATE: 06-04-07
I have sent this laser to a laser expert on the east coast of the United States - again. I also sent him my 100mW Blue DPSS Laser and my Yellow DPSS Laser. As before, expect it and the other lasers to be gone for two to three weeks.

UPDATE: 06-07-07
From an email I received from the laser expert I loaned this laser to, comes this:

The color was more like that of a Vector 7 or Vector 4 than I expected, not a magically extremely deep violet. The main difference I saw between its color and that of a Vector 4 or 7 is that the latter sometimes looks more blue than violet, depending on viewing conditions. The laser's apparent color varies less with viewing conditions.

I will see what it fluoresces. I will see what I see fluorescing when I look at the spot through various yellow goggles (I have a variety).

I know that 532 nm green lasers cause most wood objects to fluoresce weakly, visible in a dark room when looking through orange plexiglas even with 2-3 milliwatts.

I do see the Blu-Ray laser's spot getting to some extent brighter and less violet and less speckly on many white paper products, sometimes obviously brightly fluorescing. It also fluoresces spectacularly on most white clothing and can be used for "writing" on GITD objects. The fluorescence on white clothing and brighter-fluorescing white paper is a whiter shade of blue than the spectral turquoise of the 473 nm laser and whiter than that of the usual 470 nm blue LEDs. 470 nm blue LEDs are closer in color tio the 473 nm laser than to the fluorescence of clothing and paper having "optical brighteners".

UPDATE: 07-01-07
For some reason, the spot of my laser appears "dirty" - there is a diffuse ring of violet outside the main beam that I did not see before. I attempted to clean the lens with a Sima LensPen, but met with virtually no positive results. I'll attempt to clean the lens with the Micro LensPen when I receive it in 7 to 10 days, and report my findings here.

UPDATE 07-01-07:
No, you aren't seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
At 49 feet, the beam diameter is unexpectedly small - the central part of the beam is smaller than it is at the aperture!!!
Let me go try to grab a photograph...BBS...

UPDATE 07-08-07:
Beam divergence appears to have increased ***CONSIDERABLY***; the beam spot size is just huge at ~20 feet.
I attempted to clean the lens with a Sima Micro LensPen this morning; its possible that the lens has gotten pushed inward.
Since the lens cannot be adjusted and will probably need to be gouged out & replaced, and I'm neither qualified nor capable of doing this, it looks like this cute and loveable little laser is a complete loss.

Beam at 49 feet.
That black area to the left is a shadow, and does not exist in the beam. Note the ruler for size reference. Beam appears to have a size of ~4 inches at this range.

UPDATE 07-08-07:
No, you're not seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
After banging it rather firmly face-down on a concrete surface, beam divergence is *CONSIDERABLY LESS* than it was earlier; though there may be other damage as the output is significantly lower than it was earlier today. This ***MAY*** be the result of a failing battery, though I cannot verify this until tomorrow when I get some new ones. Power output measures 4.19mW.

UPDATE 07-09-07:
From the maker of this modification, comes this: "Next time, use a q-tip and windex to clean the lens."
In other words, if you have one of these cute & loveable little lasers, ***DO NOT*** use a Sima LensPen on it.

UPDATE 07-09-07:
No, you're not seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
I killed the poor innocent thing!!!
After some more banging face-down on a solid surface (the suggested "fix"), no laser radiation at all is produced.

Current usage now measures 1.4mA.
I was "hearing" the Metallica song "Unforgiven" at the time; laser breakage was just a coincidence (or a "coinkydink" as my father Norm might say) and not a result of that song.

UPDATE 07-09-07:
No, you're not seeing things.
Yes, another same-day update.
I've been given the green light to send this laser in for repair; I also have the option of procuring another Sony PS3 optics deck, and for a small fee, another laser can be built from it.

UPDATE 07-09-07:
No, you're not seeing things.
Yes, yet another same-day update.
I've procured another Sony PS3 optics deck, and had it sent directly to Heruursciences for the construction of a replacement laser.

UPDATE 07-21-07:
The replacement laser arrived today at 2:38pm PDT, so I can get rid of that dreadful "" icon from my website!!!
Power output measures 3.95mW CW on a known-brand spanken new alkaline AAA cell.

UPDATE 09-28-07:

Super macro photograph of a Blu-ray laser diode.
Photograph taken by a website fan and was used with permission.

UPDATE 03-24-08:
I received an email this morning by a website fan who had a possible explanation of the "blanking" I saw when scanning the laser.
As follows (name & email address omitted to help protect his privacy):

Craig, I just read your article on the blu-ray laser pointer – I was intrigued that you “saw” the laser blinking when you scanned it, at the same time you warn people not to look into the beam because of persistent after images – could it be that what you’re seeing is the effect of laser damage to your own eyes? If you’ve burnt some extra blind spots in your retina, the laser trace would seem to disappear as it passed over them – I’d have a quick check if I were you -you can do it yourself using an Amsler grid ( search google images) - if any of the bits of the grid seem to be missing with one eye, then it’ll be worth seeing an optician.

I visited a website where the Amsler grid was found, printed it, and took the test as directed.
No phenomena indicative of ocular damage were detected - meaning I do not have additional blind spots caused by laser damage.
But this still leaves me with the question: why did I detect blanking in the scanned beam?

UPDATE 04-25-08:
Beam waisting appears to occur at ~18 feet. This is a very good indication that overall beam divergence will be fairly low.
Beam diameter at 49 feet also appears to be small; but the second-surface mirror I must use here may be introducing some measure of error into this.

Color is very radiant & unusual for a handheld laser
Uses inexpensive and readily available batteries
Largely water-resistant
Color is very radiant an unu...o wait, I said that already!!!

Slight misalignment of the laser output assembly — this is very minor though, and will not affect usage

    PRODUCT TYPE: Violet-emitting laser module
    LAMP TYPE: Sony Blu-ray laser diode
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Very narrow spot — it's a laser, remember?
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist tailcap on/off, momentary tailcap button
    CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum with rubber sleeves on barrel & bezel
    BEZEL: Metal; plastic window protects laser diode & collimator
    BATTERY: 1x AAA cell
    WATER- AND URANATION-RESISTANT: Light splatter/weather-resistant


    Product is homemade and will not be rated like a commercial laser

Blu-ray Violet Laser Module *

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