November 16, 2004, Tokyo, Japan--Merging their respective engineering strengths in laser diode technologies, Nichia Corporation and Sony Corporation say they have successfully co-developed a wholly integrated, dual wavelength laser coupler compatible with red and blue-violet lasers. Mass production of these coupling devices is scheduled to commence by the end of 2005.
The dual wavelength laser coupler (prototype) is a single integrated device with a red laser (660 nm wavelength) for DVD playback and blue-violet laser (405 nm wavelength) for blue-violet optical disc playback. In conventional DVD/blue-violet laser optical disc systems, the laser diode and optical receiver parts corresponding to each wavelength were independent of each other. By introducing the newly developed dual wavelength laser coupler, the 2 functions can be incorporated in a single built-in element, realizing a simplified system, smaller size and enhanced reliability of the device.
The two companies have been working on the co-development of blue-violet laser diode for recording and playback on optical disc from June 2002. In April 2004, the cross license agreement in the concerned field has been successfully signed, leading to the mutual usage of the excellent patents owned by the two companies, targeting outstanding development of blue-violet related laser diodes. Additionally, as part of the cross-licensing agreement set forth earlier in April of this year, the two companies will develop a lineup of laser-related devices, including blue-violet laser diode. Furthermore, Nichia and Sony plan to supply laser couplers to the market.
"Nichia is a pioneer in the development of gallium nitride-related lasers, being the first to introduce many such devices to the market," said Gen-ichi Shinomiya, Managing Director, R&D, Engineering Headquarters, Optoelectronics Products Division, Nichia. "With the dual wavelength laser coupler in development, our target is to establish a formation for stable supply for the next generation optical storage field."
Dr. Osamu Kumagai, Microsystems Network Company, Sony's Device Solutions Company, Sony, commented "At Sony, based on the accomplishment of the mass production of the monolithic dual wavelength laser diode (announced in May 2003), we have succeeded in the development of the hybrid type of three-wavelength blue-violet laser diode, as well as the optical head (announced in May 2004). Furthermore, by selling Blu-ray related basic key devices, we are aggressively supporting Blu-ray Disc (BD) standards. In addition, by the dual wavelength laser coupler developed, this will enable ease in finished product development as well as realizing smaller size products, thus leading to new application development such as small-size BD players."