Japanese researchers from Sony Corporation and Tohoku University announced on July 20th the development of a next-generation “blue-violet ultrafast pulsed semiconductor laser,” aimed at practical technology like disk storage.
Practical blue-violet laser developed
In a press release, Tohoku University and Sony stated:
“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. Advanced control of the newly-developed and proprietarily-constructed GaN-based mode-locked semiconductor laser and semiconductor optical amplifier have enabled peak output power in excess of 100 watts to be achieved, which is more than a hundred times the world’s highest output value for conventional blue-violet pulse semiconductor lasers.”
Moreover, the two institutions noted that their system eliminated the need for a “bulky” light source and “specialist technician” to run previous lasers with similar qualities. They wrote, “There are high expectations that this newly-developed semiconductor laser system, which incorporates semiconductor diodes, will be able to be used in a much wider range of applications in the future thanks to technology such as this, which enables the size of devices such as the light source box to be drastically reduced.”
blue-violet laser as the next DVD / Blu-ray
In particular, Sony indicated they are aiming to use the laser in next-generation disk storage devices, having already achieved successful initial testing.
Japanese news reports added quantified values to laser announcement. The Yomiuri wrote that new laser is expected to allow for disks to hold 20 times the capacity of the Blu-ray. The newspaper conjectured that if Blu-rays can hold a little over two movies worth of high-quality film, the blue-violet would be able to handle more than 50 titles. Others likened that capacity to not only easily fitting all of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars on one disk, but entire seasons of anime or TV shows like 24.
No indication was given on when the new technology might reach consumers.