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2020 World's most powerful CW handheld laser

14 Views· 20 Sep 2021

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I built the world's most powerful handheld laser! The output power is over 100W, which is literally insane.

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I scored an engineering sample for a very powerful laser diode array recently and decided to jam it in a handheld housing. The extremely powerful laser diode array is rated for 95W of output power and is capable of more than that. At such extreme power in such a small package, this makes for what is likely the most powerful handheld laser in the world.

The laser diode array was probably made for use in high efficiency laser driven light sources like hybrid DLP projectors, and in fact these kinds of sources are likely to become used more and more often in the future. In fact the 2014 Nobel prize in physics was given for the blue LED which directly led to the blue laser diode, and both of these are used in some of the most efficient white light sources ever made.

That's not the only piece of Nobel Prize winning tech in this build though. In fact this project would not have been possible without the development of high energy density lithium batteries, which actually won the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry!

For the build I used an old radar gun that my friend scored from a junkyard, and removed the internals other than switches. I ground down a big chunk of aluminum to use as a heatsink, and bolted down the laser array using indium foil. For the drivers I used linear regulators that happen to be fairly efficient due to the relatively high voltages involved. The stock switch would have likely been yeeted if I used it to switch on the powerful circuit, so I rewired it so that a big power MOSFET handles the bulk of the power switching.

After building it, I tested it against several different materials and items, starting with common tricks used with handheld lasers (popping balloons, igniting cardboard, etc.) before moving up to some extreme demos like melting glass and cutting steel. The fact that a handheld laser can do this is unbelievable, and is only possible due to the groundbreaking research done by scientists and engineers over the years.

Obviously a laser like this requires wearing high OD laser goggles at all times when using it, as it is a whopping 200 times over the threshold of the highest danger ratings for laser. That being said, you don't have to get into record breaking territory before you need to wear goggles when using lasers. Even cheap $2 laser pointers bought online are often extremely dangerous as they usually turn out much stronger than advertised!!

The song during the heatsink montage is "Give" by Silent Partner

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