Our new MAKE magazine columnist, iconic electronics guru Forrest M. Mims III (see “Country Scientist,” MAKE, Volume 17) has a piece up on the Jameco website about using a laser pointer to create cool laser-light patterns to capture with a digital camera:
The coherent properties of a laser beam provide an ideal tool for creating highly complex interference patterns, and reflecting a narrow laser beam from various surfaces can produces strikingly beautiful splashes of laser light.
[The top figure] shows one of many simple ways to create laser art patterns. The key ingredient for this recipe is a square of aluminum foil wrapped around the business end of a laser pointer or module. The foil is crumpled to provide a field of highly complex reflective surfaces. It is then rolled around the end of the laser pointer with the shiny side facing inward. The open end of the foil is partially pushed in to intercept and reflect the laser beam. The laser is pointed toward a diffuser screen (see below), and the pattern formed on the screen is captured by a digital camera on the opposite side of the screen.