The race to corner the market for blue diode lasers recently picked up some new contenders, with the US military funding both company and university research programs. The first blue laser diode with 10,000-h continuous-wave operation was commercially introduced earlier this year by Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd. of Japan. Since then, enthusiasm for developing and marketing these devices has spread to companies such as Cree Research Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., SDL Inc. and Xerox Corp., as well as to institutions such as North Carolina State, and Northwestern and Boston universities, thanks to funding from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Japanese companies Fujitsu and Matsushita also are putting their money on blue lasers. Expanding applications are driving the research. Besides military and optical data storage applications, the devices are finding use in ultrahigh-resolution laser printers and indoor lighting. For more information on funding details, development and licensing opportunities, contact Technical Insights, (212) 850-6788.