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Limits on light

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Science  13 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5281, pp. 1469
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5281.1469e

Optical limiters pass low levels of light but block transmission at high intensities. Their uses include protecting sensors from intense laser pulses, but improvements are needed in order to use them for protecting the human eye. Perry et al. (p. 1533) combined two approaches to produce an improved organic optical limiter. They derivatized phthalocyanine complexes with heavy atoms to increase the absorption of the triplet excited state of the molecule. They also varied the concentration of these molecules along the optical path to maintain high saturation of the excited state without damaging the material.

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