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Blackout Materials

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Blackout Materials


Thorlabs offers a complete selection of blackout materials that are designed for stray or ambient light control. Please note that the items on this page are not intended to be used for laser safety as beam dumps.

Stray light can adversely affect photodetectors and experiments. These materials are especially beneficial when using high-gain detection equipment, such as in photon counting experiments, since high-gain detectors are easily saturated by room light. Blackout materials are also used in ellipsometry and certain polarimetry techniques, where ambient light produces signal modulations that adversely impact accuracy.

Laser Safety and Classification

Safe practices and proper usage of safety equipment should be taken into consideration when operating lasers. The eye is susceptible to injury, even from very low levels of laser light. Thorlabs offers a range of laser safety accessories that can be used to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. Laser emission in the visible and near infrared spectral ranges has the greatest potential for retinal injury, as the cornea and lens are transparent to those wavelengths, and the lens can focus the laser energy onto the retina. 

Alignment Tools
Laser Barriers
Enclosure Systems
Blackout Materials
Laser Glasses
Laser Viewing Cards
Laser Safety Signs
Shutter and Controllers

Safe Practices and Light Safety Accessories

  • Thorlabs recommends the use of safety eyewear whenever working with laser beams with non-negligible powers (i.e., > Class 1) since metallic tools such as screwdrivers can accidentally redirect a beam.
  • Laser goggles designed for specific wavelengths should be clearly available near laser setups to protect the wearer from unintentional laser reflections.
  • Goggles are marked with the wavelength range over which protection is afforded and the minimum optical density within that range.
  • Laser Barriers and Blackout Materials can prevent direct or reflected light from leaving the experimental setup area.
  • Thorlabs' Enclosure Systems can be used to contain optical setups to isolate or minimize laser hazards.
  • A fiber-pigtailed laser should always be turned off before connecting it to or disconnecting it from another fiber, especially when the laser is at power levels above 10 mW.
  • All beams should be terminated at the edge of the table, and laboratory doors should be closed whenever a laser is in use.
  • Do not place laser beams at eye level.
  • Carry out experiments on an optical table such that all laser beams travel horizontally.
  • Remove unnecessary reflective items such as reflective jewelry (e.g., rings, watches, etc.) while working near the beam path.
  • Be aware that lenses and other optical devices may reflect a portion of the incident beam from the front or rear surface.
  • Operate a laser at the minimum power necessary for any operation.
  • If possible, reduce the output power of a laser during alignment procedures.
  • Use beam shutters and filters to reduce the beam power.
  • Post appropriate warning signs or labels near laser setups or rooms.
  • Use laser sign lightboxes if operating Class 3R or 4 lasers (i.e., lasers requiring the use of a safety interlock).
  • Do not use Laser Viewing Cards in place of a proper Laser Barrier or Beam Trap.


Laser Classification

Lasers are categorized into different classes according to their ability to cause eye and other damage. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The IEC document 60825-1 outlines the safety of laser products. A description of each class of laser is given below:

ClassDescriptionWarning Label
1This class of laser is safe under all conditions of normal use, including use with optical instruments for intrabeam viewing. Lasers in this class do not emit radiation at levels that may cause injury during normal operation, and therefore the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) cannot be exceeded. Class 1 lasers can also include enclosed, high-power lasers where exposure to the radiation is not possible without opening or shutting down the laser. Class 1
1MClass 1M lasers are safe except when used in conjunction with optical components such as telescopes and microscopes. Lasers belonging to this class emit large-diameter or divergent beams, and the MPE cannot normally be exceeded unless focusing or imaging optics are used to narrow the beam. However, if the beam is refocused, the hazard may be increased and the class may be changed accordingly. Class 1M
2Class 2 lasers, which are limited to 1 mW of visible continuous-wave radiation, are safe because the blink reflex will limit the exposure in the eye to 0.25 seconds. This category only applies to visible radiation (400 - 700 nm). Class 2
2MBecause of the blink reflex, this class of laser is classified as safe as long as the beam is not viewed through optical instruments. This laser class also applies to larger-diameter or diverging laser beams. Class 2M
3RLasers in this class are considered safe as long as they are handled with restricted beam viewing. The MPE can be exceeded with this class of laser, however, this presents a low risk level to injury. Visible, continuous-wave lasers are limited to 5 mW of output power in this class. Class 3R
3BClass 3B lasers are hazardous to the eye if exposed directly. However, diffuse reflections are not harmful. Safe handling of devices in this class includes wearing protective eyewear where direct viewing of the laser beam may occur. In addition, laser safety signs lightboxes should be used with lasers that require a safety interlock so that the laser cannot be used without the safety light turning on. Class-3B lasers must be equipped with a key switch and a safety interlock. Class 3B
4This class of laser may cause damage to the skin, and also to the eye, even from the viewing of diffuse reflections. These hazards may also apply to indirect or non-specular reflections of the beam, even from apparently matte surfaces. Great care must be taken when handling these lasers. They also represent a fire risk, because they may ignite combustible material. Class 4 lasers must be equipped with a key switch and a safety interlock. Class 4
All class 2 lasers (and higher) must display, in addition to the corresponding sign above, this triangular warning sign Warning Symbol
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Posted Comments:
Poster: sharrell
Posted Date: 2014-09-05 12:23:37.0
A Response from Sean at Thorlabs: Thank you for contacting us. I had contacted our engineering department about this, and we're currently looking into whether this data is correct. I'll update this response and e-mail you as soon as we have a definitive answer.
Poster: peter.hansson
Posted Date: 2014-09-05 08:51:36.89
Hi again, (noticed that the part no. was not included in my question below) According to the graph on your website, your BKF12 foil should have below 0.2 % reflectance in the visible spectrum. I find this very hard to believe. Is the specification correct? I would really apprechiate a quick answer. Best regards, Peter
Poster: peter.hansson
Posted Date: 2014-09-02 17:35:15.88
Hi! According to the graph on your website this foil should have below 0.2 % reflectance in the visible spectrum. Just by looking at it, I find this very hard to believe. Is the specification correct? Best regards, Peter
Poster: jgrace_3k
Posted Date: 2014-01-27 11:10:44.28
Do you have reflectivity data on the BFP1 product? Specifically interested in the reflectivity from viz through MWIR (5 um would be nice, but any data would be useful).
Poster: jlow
Posted Date: 2014-01-27 04:13:03.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: I will contact you directly to provide a graph for the reflectivity.
Poster: cdaly
Posted Date: 2014-01-16 07:56:34.0
Response from Chris at Thorlabs: I would suggest considered the Black Flocked Self-Adhesive paper BFP1. The textured matte-black surface is the most appropriate item we offer as it is absorptive as detailed on this page.
Poster: dmitry.s
Posted Date: 2014-01-10 03:56:20.167
Do you have any blackout material for dark room application? Currently we are working on our own lab facilities for imaging devices characterization so we are looking for light-absorbing materials to cover walls in the room.
Poster: tcohen
Posted Date: 2012-11-15 11:40:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: Our laser safety barrier is more suitable for high power ( Alternatively, we do have beam traps,, which may suit your needs. I would not recommend substituting a proper high power laser safety barrier with TB4. I see you have contacted us with further questions and we will contact you directly to discuss this further.
Poster: matteo.seregni
Posted Date: 2012-11-15 15:10:45.01
Is the TB4 hardboard compatible with high laser powers (pulsed 500W 690nm and CW 50W 532nm)? Thanks
Poster: jlow
Posted Date: 2012-11-06 15:49:00.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: We have the BK5 blackout fabric. However, it is not flame retardant. I will contact you directly to discuss about this further.
Poster: gordon.noble
Posted Date: 2012-10-26 10:27:43.777
Do you have any non-conductive blackout fabric? Ideally it needs to be fire retardant as well. Gordon
Poster: jlow
Posted Date: 2012-10-22 17:47:49.56
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: We do not have the flammability rating for the TB4 black hardboard, but it should be similar to regular wood-fiber veneer.
Posted Date: 2012-10-16 18:25:53.633
Hi, do you have a flammability rating for your Black hardboard, or just a general indication of flammability? Thanks
Poster: tcohen
Posted Date: 2012-09-04 12:33:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: The BK5 blackout fabric has not been tested for particulate contamination and is not rated for cleanroom applications.
Posted Date: 2012-08-31 09:51:38.0
Hello, Is the BK5 rubberized fabric cleanroom compatible? Thanks
Poster: bdada
Posted Date: 2011-10-14 12:43:00.0
Response from Buki at Thorlabs: The black masking tapes are not classified as clean room compatible. Please contact for further support.
Poster: luis.ferreira
Posted Date: 2011-10-13 12:22:26.0
Hello, are the black masking tapes (T137-1.0 or T137-2.0) clean-room compatible ? Many thanks
Poster: jjurado
Posted Date: 2011-08-18 14:02:00.0
Response from Javier at Thorlabs to peter.bechtold: Thank you very much for your feedback. Since this material is made from Neoprene-coated rayon, it is as flammable as a regular fabric. We will add a note to the description of this item to emphasize this. We will also look into offering blackout material made from special grade flame retardant fabric.
Poster: peter.bechtold
Posted Date: 2011-08-17 17:10:06.0
PLEASE do add a remark to the description that this material is highly flammable! I would have never thought so (it is no laser curtain - yes - but as a laser accessory seller I would never think that Thorlabs sells easily flammable material!). It would be good imho if you add a product which is basically the same but just not flammable. Best, Peter
Poster: Adam
Posted Date: 2010-05-03 09:11:40.0
A response from Adam at Thorlabs: The BK5 should be free of pinholes. If you need to block bright sunlight we would recommend a double layer since a double layer will give you greater blocking efficiency.
Poster: dave
Posted Date: 2010-05-03 04:21:44.0
hi. is the bk5 material free of pinholes? would a double/triple layer be sufficient to block bright sunlight (camera bellows)? kind regards, dave
Poster: klee
Posted Date: 2009-10-23 16:21:45.0
A response from Ken at Thorlabs to fschewe: The exact dimensions are 24" x 24", which translate to 609.6 mm x 609.6 mm. The metric dimensions on page 396 are rounded.
Poster: fschewe
Posted Date: 2009-10-23 14:28:40.0
Short remark: In the catalog on page 194 the size of the black-out material is given by 609.9 mm x 609.9 mm. On page 396 it is 610 mm x 610 mm. And on page 1236 again 609.9 mm x 609.9 mm.
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Blackout Fabric
  • Rubberized Coating on Weaved Fabric
  • Double-Layered Use is Recommended for Extremely Sensitive Applications

This black rubberized fabric provides an easy method for protecting light-sensitive equipment, as the rubberized coating prevents light from penetrating through the weave of the fabric. Double-layer use is recommended for extremely sensitive applications. Please note that this material is not intended for use as a laser curtain since it is not flame retardant. The fabric has also not been tested for clean room compatibility.

We can cut this material into custom lengths (in yards) that fit your application. Please contact Tech Support for a quote.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
BK5 Support Documentation
BK5 Black Rubberized Fabric, 5' x 9' (1.5 m x 2.7 m) x 0.005" (0.12 mm) Thick
Black Hardboard and Posterboard
Close-Up of the TB4
Click to Enlarge
Close-Up of TB4
  • Cuts Easily with Utility Knife
  • Build Light-Tight Boxes

This heavy-duty construction board, which measures 5 mm thick, consists of a dense, polystyrene-based foam core sandwiched between two plastic-coated, moisture-resistant cardboard outer layers (as seen in the photo to the right). The material cuts easily with a utility knife for construction of light-tight boxes. We recommend using our 2" (5 cm) wide black masking tape (T137-2.0, sold below) for corners and other joints to eliminate the passage of light through those areas.

Upon request, we can offer custom sizes up to 48" x 48" (121.9 cm x 121.9 cm) to customers in North America, or up to 44" x 32" (111.8 cm x 81.3 cm) elsewhere. Please contact Technical Support for a quote.

These 1/16" thick panels are ideal for erecting light-tight enclosures. Simply score the board with a utility knife and fold to make light-tight corners.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
TB4 Support Documentation
TB4 Black Hardboard, 24" x 24" (610 mm x 610 mm), 5 mm Thick, 3 Sheets
TB5 Support Documentation
TB5 Black Posterboard, 20" x 30" (508 mm x 762 mm), 1/16" (1.6 mm) Thick, 5 Sheets
Black Flocked Self-Adhesive Paper
  • Self-Adhesive
  • Does Not Shed Dust or Lint
  • 30" x 30" x 0.012" (76.2 cm x 76.2 cm x 0.305 mm) Without Backing

Flocked paper is a self-adhesive material made of many fine fibers. It has a textured, matte-black surface. When viewed at from low angles, it absorbs virtually 100% of the visible light that strikes it. The fibers will not shed dust or lint, unlike some velvet and felt materials. The approximate compressed thickness of the flocked paper is 0.015" (0.381 mm) with the backing and 0.012" (0.305 mm) without the backing.

Image contrast can suffer due to stray light reaching the focal plane of many applications where the light path travels through a tube or other enclosed area. Applying a flat-black paint to the inside may help, but a textured matte-black surface is a much more effective light trap.

Caution: Do not cut the BFP1 black flocked paper with a laser cutting tool, as the BFP1 burns easily and may catch fire. It is suggested that you use a utility knife or other sharp edged tool to cut the BFP1.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
BFP1 Support Documentation
BFP1 Black Flocked Paper, 30" x 30" (762 mm x 762 mm) Sheet
Black Aluminum Foil
  • Ideal for Masking Light Leaks and Eliminating Unwanted Reflections
  • Highly Flexible, Lightweight, and Corrosion Resistant
  • Use with a Wide Range of Radiation Sources (Including X-Ray and UV)

This durable, lightweight foil has a matte black finish to absorb light from any ambient or conventional light source. It can be molded quickly to form blackout covers, dark rooms, laser channels, or other configurations so as to mask light leaks or eliminate unwanted reflections. Secure its position using tape, staples, or adhesives. This black aluminum foil is sold on a role and measures 1' x 50' (305 mm x 15.2 m).

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
BKF12 Support Documentation
BKF12 Matte Black Aluminum Foil, 1' x 50' (305 mm x 15.2 m) x .002" (50 µm) Thick
Black Masking Tape
Demonstration 1
Click to Enlarge
High-Performance Black Masking Tape
Demonstration 2
Click to Enlarge
Black Masking Tape
  • 1" (25 mm) and 2" (50 mm) Wide Versions Available
  • Paper-Based Masking Tape for General Purpose or Blackout Applications
  • Aluminum Foil Tape for Total Blackout Applications
  • Can be Torn by Hand and Removed Easily Without Leaving Residue

Thorlabs offers two types of black masking tape and an aluminum foil tape. All types of tape can be torn by hand, are easy to remove, and do not leave residue. The T137-1.0 and T137-2.0 black masking tape can be used for general applications. For applications requiring minimal ambient light transmission, the T743-1.0 or T743-2.0 high-performance black masking tape is recommended. For total blackout requirements or high-power applications, we offer the T205-1.0 or T205-2.0 non-reflective, flame-retardant aluminum tape. This foil tape has been tested to withstand up to 10 seconds of exposure from a 20 W, Ø6 mm, 10.6 µm laser beam.

In the photographs shown above, a collimated LED (Item # M530L2-C2) with approximately 170 mW output power was used to illustrate how the T743-2.0 high-performance tape allows very little light transmission as compared to the T137-2.0 standard black masking tape. The table below gives the measured power and percent transmittance when various wavelengths of light were incident upon each type of tape.

Laser (Wavelength)Measured Power (% Transmittance)
Incident Power T137-2.0
(Masking Tape)
(High-Performance Masking Tape)
(Aluminum Foil Tape)
CPS180 (635 nm) 1.07 mW (100%) 1.34 µW (0.13%) 0.90 µW (0.08%) Zero (0%)
CPS182 (635 nm) 4.79 mW (100%) 5.92 µW (0.12%) 0.24 µW (<0.01%) Zero (0%)
HRS015 (632.991 nm) 1.41 mW (100%) 3.36 µW (0.24%) 0.012 µW (<0.01%) Zero (0%)
LDM850 (850 nm) 20.34 mW (100%) 28.74 µW (0.14%) 1.04 µW (<0.01%) 0.0006 µW (<1 x 10-5%)
Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
T137-1.0 Support Documentation
T137-1.0 Black Masking Tape, 1" x 180' (25 mm x 55 m) Roll
T137-2.0 Support Documentation
T137-2.0 Black Masking Tape, 2" x 180' (50 mm x 55 m) Roll
T743-1.0 Support Documentation
T743-1.0 High-Performance Black Masking Tape, 1" x 180' (25 mm x 55 m) Roll
T743-2.0 Support Documentation
T743-2.0 High-Performance Black Masking Tape, 2" x 180' (50 mm x 55 m) Roll
T205-1.0 Support Documentation
T205-1.0 Customer Inspired! AT205 Black Aluminum Foil Tape 1" x 81' (25 mm x 25 m) Roll
T205-2.0 Support Documentation
T205-2.0 Customer Inspired! AT205 Black Aluminum Foil Tape 2" x 81' (50 mm x 25 m) Roll
Vertical Blackout Blinds
  • Blackout Material
  • 1.7 m (66.9") Drop
  • Choice of Four Widths: 600 mm (23.6"), 900 mm (35.4"), 1200 mm (47.2"), or 1500 mm (59.1")
  • Can Be Fitted Inside or Outside the Window Recess
  • Conventional Roller Blind Chain Operating System

These blackout blinds are made from a black, rubberized fabric. Designed for applications where light exclusion is required, such as laboratories and dark rooms, they can be used to keep stray light out of photosensitive setups. They are also useful for preventing bright sources from being visible by people outside the lab. The fabric is totally opaque, and the blinds are manually operated by a side chain. They can be attached to the wall or window recess using the two brackets and four screws that are supplied. Please note that the blinds are not intended for use as a laser curtain since the material is not flame retardant. The material has also not been tested for cleanroom compatibility.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
VBB060 Support Documentation
VBB060 Vertical Blackout Blind, 600 mm x 1700 mm (23.6" x 66.9")
VBB090 Support Documentation
VBB090 Vertical Blackout Blind, 900 mm x 1700 mm (35.4" x 66.9")
VBB120 Support Documentation
VBB120 Vertical Blackout Blind, 1200 mm x 1700 mm (47.2" x 66.9")
VBB150 Support Documentation
VBB150 Vertical Blackout Blind, 1500 mm x 1700 mm (59.1"" x 66.9")
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