Leading the pack in development of a blue laser, Japan's Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd. is delivering on its promise to commercialize blue-violet laser diodes, with shipments slated for the beginning of this month.
"If the results of testing of our blue-violet [laser diodes] is good, full-scale production will be very soon," said Shuji Nakamura, developer of Nichia's blue light-emitting diodes and lasers.
The InGaN-based laser diodes -- emitting at 400 nm -- have an output power of 5 mW and operate on 40 mA and 5 V. Lifetime is estimated at 10,000 hours at room temperature.
The new laser will enable much denser digital video disc (DVD) data storage. While current DVDs using 650-nm red lasers can store about 4.7 GB per side, Nichia's blue-violet laser will enable 12 GB per side, enough storage space for some six hours of standard-resolution video and sound. Nakamura said the laser also could be used in laser printers, laser lithography, medical equipment, digital video recorders, displays and sensors, as well as perform as a laser light source.