New, small lasers provide low-noise light at key wavelengths for instrumentation, reprographics and communications.
Matthias Schulze and Jean-Michel Pelaprat
For almost a decade, the laser industry has labored to produce a compact, reliable semiconductor-based laser that emits a blue beam. It is a tale replete with exotic design schemes, from upconversion fiber lasers to waveguide or resonantly doubled laser diodes. But none of these ventures has produced a compact blue laser with the optimum wavelength and dependability essential for "around-the-clock" applications such as DNA sequencing, reprographics and silicon wafer inspection.
Meanwhile, as the demand for blue lasers continues to soar, OEMs and end users persevere with bulky, inefficient gas lasers and low-brightness lamps as they wait for a solid-state breakthrough. Now the long wait has ended…