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Nichia starting in-house production of high-power red laser diodes

23 Nov 2023

New sources available from spring 2024 will complement its established production of blue and green LDs.

Nichia, a developer and manufacturer of gallium nitride-based LEDs and the inventor of high-brightness blue and white LEDs, has started in-house production of high-power red laser diode (LD) chips. The Japan-headquartered company will start selling laser packaged products including the new red LD chip from spring, 2024.

Compared to those using conventional lamps or LED light sources, laser projectors with the three primary colors of red, green, and blue offer the advantage of a much wider color reproduction range, as well as the ability to achieve high brightness while maintaining compact size and high efficiency.

In recent years, the demand for such projectors has been rapidly increasing, says Nichia, not only for high-luminance movie theater projectors, but also ones for individual consumers such as laser TVs and small smart projectors.

Laser diodes play an important role in determining the specifications of projectors, and Nichia has been required to flexibly respond to various customer requests for the performance of each RGB color LD. Nichia had been manufacturing blue and green LD chips in-house; however, the red LD chips had been procured from outside suppliers. The quality, cost, and supply of red LD chips were dependent on suppliers, and Nichia comments that “the challenge was how to meet the various needs of customers”.

‘Watt-class’

To address the increasing market demand and advancements in performance for laser projectors, as well as explore further application possibilities, Nichia says it will accelerate the development and commercialization of red LD products with improved efficiency and output power by implementing in-house manufacturing.

The company started its development of “watt-class” high-power red LD chips and succeeded in producing them in-house. Nichia has made what it calls “upfront investments” in mass production facilities and secured production capacity to meet the demand for RGB LDs.

In addition to blue and green LD chips, which are Nichia’s established technologies, in-house production will enable Nichia to make all three primary color LD chips, going forward, allowing the manufacturer to flexibly consider and respond to various requests from customers.

Nichia will start selling LD packages utilizing its in-house manufactured red LD chips beginning in spring of 2024. In addition, the red LD chips used in existing products will be gradually replaced with internally-produced chips, rather than those procured from external suppliers.

Its QuaLas™ RGB is an example of an LD product with multiple RGB LD chips densely mounted in one small package. It will be one of Nichia's main products with in-house red LD chips. The typical optical output power in each RGB color is 8.3W for blue (465nm), 4.8W for green (525nm), and 10.0W for red (643nm), suggesting a suitable combination for providing a good white balance for the display (see figures and specifications in the above image).

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