Next gen optical disc laser developed in Japan
A collaborative team of engineers in Japan have created a new blue-violet ultrafast pulsed semi-conductor laser with 100 watt output. This new laser, with an output that is 100 times that of current laser technologies, will likely power the high capacity optical discs of the future.
The team was made up of engineers from Sony Corporation, Tohoku University, Advanced Materials Laboratories, and Professor Hiroyuki Yokoyama of the New Industry Creation Hatchery Center (NICHe). A press release announcing their developments was released by the university on July 21st.
“This latest successful development is an all-semiconductor laser picosecond pulse source with a laser wavelength of 405 nanometers (1 nm = one-billionth of a meter) in the blue-violet region. It is capable of generating optical pulses in the ultrafast duration of 3 picoseconds (1 picosecond = one-trillionth of a second), with ultrahigh output peak power of 100 watts and repetition frequency of 1 gigahertz,” stated the announcement from Tohoku University.
The press release also noted that the new laser technology will appear in a wider range of devices due to a much smaller light source box. Sony has already tested the laser and intends to use the technology in future generations of disc storage devices.
Japanese news sources are reporting that the laser will allow for the creation of optical discs that hold 20 times the data of current Blu-ray discs. The increased capacity would allow for several movies on a single disc, or entire seasons of television shows, eliminating the need for large boxed sets.
An in-depth technical explanation of the 100 watt GaN pulsed laser has been published by Compound Semiconductor, if you’d like to read more.
There are currently no reports on when the new lasers will reach the consumer electronics market. With Sony already in testing mode however, consumer products are likely not far off. The other question is what will the entry-level prices be for products that use the technology? With no word on that either, I have to speculate that it will be quite high, as with any new technology.
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