Doing experiments with green laser pointers can be both educational and a load of fun. This article provides an outline of a number of good experiments for green laser pointers.

Conducting experiments with laser pointers is both educational and loads of fun. Listed below are some basic experiments you can perform with green laser pointers. Please when experimenting, always keep safety foremost in mind.

Thermal experiments

Burning plastic

This is the easiest of the thermal experiments to perform and only requires a 55mW laser pointer.


-Use thin black plastic such as shopping bags.

-Hold the laser pointer very laser tape measure comparison close to the bag and rest it on something solid to keep the beam steady.

-The first sign of success will be tendrils of smoke from the point you are aiming at.

-When you’ve finished, holding the plastic up to the light should reveal small pin pricks burnt into the plastic.

Bursting or popping balloons

Laser pointers of roughly 75mW or higher in power can pop dark or black colored balloons.


-Dark or black balloons are best because they are better at absorbing green light. White or green balloons will have too much reflection and the absorbed energy will not be enough to pop the balloon. If you don’t have any dark/black balloons, you can use a sharpie (black texta) to put a black spot on the balloon that you can aim the laser at.

-Make sure the balloon is fully blown up because if it is not blown up properly and lacks tension, popping it will be difficult.

Lighting matches

This is harder to do than popping balloons and requires a minimum of 95mW or higher laser pointer.


-As with balloons, the color of the match head is also important. If the color is too light such as white, too much energy from the laser beam will be reflected and there will not be enough energy remaining to light the match. Black or dark red matches are ideal. You can also use a sharpie to darken the match head.

-Make sure both the laser pointer and the match are fixed and not moving

-don’t hold the laser pointer too close to the match or you may get ash and debris on the laser pointer lens.

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