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Interlocks

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Definition: safety devices for automatically switching off a laser power or interrupting a laser beam

German: Sicherheitsverriegelung

Category: lasers

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

The interlock of a laser is a mechanism which can contribute to laser safety by automatically switching off the laser or by blocking a laser beam, e.g. when a protective box or a door is opened. Commercial lasers often have interlock connections on the back side of the laser driver (i.e. the electronic controls). This is suitable for connecting some device which recognizes potentially dangerous situations:

In some cases, numerical pads allow legitimate (and correspondingly informed) users to override the interlock if they know a certain code.

As interlocks can be annoying in real life, they are often manipulated, particularly in research labs. Therefore, their usefulness for laser safety should not be overestimated.

See also: laser safety
and other articles in the category lasers

In the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide, 3 suppliers for interlocks are listed.

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