Laser safety curtains can be crazy expensive. They meet ISO standard and therefore may be required for certain needs. However, outside of research you can obtain protective material that is superior to what is typically used for laser safety equipment for much less cost. Fire retardant industrial coated vinyl material has been tested by the ONE Core and found to have superior light transmittance over typically used in laser barriers. And it is fire retardant. This material can be hung with grommets and typical curtain rods. It can be sewn together or even just taped.
We have tested the 18 oz/61: Industrial Coated Vinyl with Fire Retardant-Black from Big Duck Canvas (at $8.19 for 61” x 36”) and found that it met our needs. At 300mW 471nm over 1 mm diameter for 1 minute, we did ‘burn’ a hole in it, but typical laser barriers do so as well in less time. And Optogenetics should never be that high. Typical powers should be more around 1mW to…maybe 40mW. At 60mW, 1mm diameter, we observed 0% transmittance over 30 minutes.
You could use gorilla tape to put it together, but it is shiny. It would be better to go with a Matt black aluminum tape. J.V. Converting looks like they make some nice stuff, but I haven’t tested it.
If you have access to a sewing machine with a thick needle (!) you can sew it together. This creates a nice barrier. We tried to get fancy with a mutithread sewing machine, but didn’t really understand how to adjust the tensions of all the threads. It’s ugly, but incredibly strong.
Hang the curtain from a curtain rod or whatever. In order for the material to be hung and not tear, use grommets. We sucessfully used Dritz 44373 Curtain Grommets, Satin Nickel, 1-Inch, 8-Pack, AmazonBasics 1” Curtain Clip Ring, Set of 7, Black, and Vinyl Coated Metal Wire Keychain for Keys,Outdoor Hiking and Luggage Tags by Carryluxe(25 Pack). Instructions on how to use grommets come with the grommets or can be found elsewhere on the interwebs.
ONE Core acknowledgement
Please acknowledge the ONE Core facility in your publications. An appropriate wording would be:
“The Optogenetics and Neural Engineering (ONE) Core at the University of Colorado School of Medicine provided engineering support for this research. The ONE Core is part of the NeuroTechnology Center, funded in part by the School of Medicine and by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under award number P30NS048154.”