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Can I use a laser together with Basler cameras?

In some applications a laser might be used as illumination source. In these cases, however, a typical question that arises is if the sensor lifetime would be decreased due to damaging the sensor, i.e. the silicon.

Basler does not perform any measurements with lasers. Machine Vision cameras/sensors are usually specified for the visible (400-700 nm) and the beginning of the near-infrared (700-1000 nm) radiation spectrum, and there are several different types of lasers operating at wavelengths outside of the visible spectrum:

  • UV (100-300nm)
  • NIR (1-3µm)
  • Mid-Infrared (3-30µm)
  • Far-Infrared (30µm-1mm)

If a laser, especially a UV laser, is targeted to a CCD/CMOS sensor, the sensor can be destroyed.

The very intensive laser power might yield to an extreme power density, where the microlenses (made of a kind of jelly that is formed to a roughly spherical shape by adhesion), the doped silicon, etc. can be melted or destroyed.

Partially, Basler cameras are used for laser profile measurements or profile ion-/ electron- beams, but this is with a limited lifetime. In cases, where damage to the sensor/camera was caused by a laser, the camera warranty claim expires.

Additionally, some 3rd parties have tested common lasers with consumer grade CCD cameras. Examples of such results are summarized below:

Test Results

  • A Class2 laser of 1mW was never able to permanently disable a CCTV camera when at least 3m away from the lens
  • A green Class3A laser of 5mW was able to disable a CCD-based camera at 15 meters which resulted in a permanent white screen
  • A red Class3A laser of 5mW was not able to disable a CCD-based camera (see above) at 100m
  • Lasers in the Class3B power range (both red and green) are able to destroy the CCD/CMOS chip elements.