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Nichia announces blue laser plans

11 May 2007

Mass production of 250 mW blue-violet sources will begin in January 2008, with 320 mW on the way.

Nichia announced its plans to produce blue-violet laser sources for next-generation DVD drives at Laser Expo 2007, held in Yokohama, Japan, at the end of April. A 180 mW pulsed-mode model will start shipping in June 2007, to be followed by a 250 mW model in January 2008.

The sources will enable data to be recorded onto DVD disks at much faster speeds. Nichia states that 4x-6x recording speed is possible onto a dual-layer disk using a 200 mW blue-violet source, while 8x speed is possible with 240 mW sources.

Nichia also plans to mass produce a 320 mW model in the first half of 2008, which the company claims will allow 10x recording speed. The estimated lifetime of the device is more than 10,000 hours.

Other companies are also gearing up to meet the increasing demand for blue-violet laser diodes as high-definition DVD recorders become available. Sony recently announced increased capacity of GaN-based blue semiconductor lasers to 1.7 million units per month, and released two versions of a 170 mW source. In November 2007 the company plans to announce a pair of 240 mW sources.

• Nichia also announced a high-power blue laser source for image display and rear-projection applications. Outputting 500 mW in continuous-wave mode at 445 nm, the company claims a working life of about 30,000 hours. An increased emission wavelength of 460 nm is being developed, and Nichia believes that sources capable of over 1 W light output could be produced by optimizing the heat dissipation from the source.

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