One of the most obvious differences between a blue laser pointer and a green laser pointer is price. A 10 mW blue laser pointer cost $700 compared to the price of the equivalent 15 mW green laser pointer that cost $100.
It is not just blue laser pointers that are more expensive. Blue laser modules, OEM lasers and lab lasers are also much more expensive than their green counterparts. The reason for such a large price differences are the processes used to generate the laser beam, the components used that the manufacturing volumes.
Beam generation process
Both blue and green laser pointers use a pump diode that gives out infrared 808nm light that is used to pump the same type of crystals. The pumped crystals in turn give out light in the far infrared spectrum. The difference between blue and green lasers is the optical coatings on the pumped crystals and the type of far infrared light produced by these crystals.
The pumped crystals in a green laser pointer have an optical coating that causes the crystals to give out mostly 1064nm infrared light that is frequency doubled by another crystal to green 532nm light. The pumped crystals in a blue laser pointer have a different coating that causes the crystals to give out mostly 946nm infrared light that is also frequency doubled by another crystal to 473nm light.
The process of producing 1064nm light is much more efficient than making 946nm light so blue laser pointers need a large pump diode to produce the same power. The larger pump diode makes blue laser pointers more expensive. The frequency doubling crystals in blue laser pointers are rarer and more expensive than those in green laser pointers.
Green laser pointers have better visibility than blue laser pointers and have less temperature problems at higher power levels. This means that green lasers are used for a larger number of diverse applications such as astronomy, pointing, burning and signaling and are manufactured in very high volumes. Blue laser pointers on the other hand are much more limited in their application and are manufactured in much lower volumes. Like any product, the lower the volume produced, the more expensive the product is.
Article is courtesy of Dragonlasers – No 1 lasers, laser pointer and green laser online store