Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sharp Develops Blue-Violet Semiconductor Laser for Blu-ray

There is no doubt that the evolution of the laser-read high-definition
recordable disc took a drastic leap forward with the development and
eventual mass marketing of Sony's Blu-ray technology. Who wouldn't want
something that provides pure picture perfection on your big-screen LCD
(or LED, or plasma…) television and unsurpassed audio reproduction
through your 1000W 5.0 surround sound speaker system? Enough said. But
what if the inherent limitations of the technology like storage capacity
threaten to stifle the growth of this still infantile platform? That's
where scientists like those at Sharp come in.
These very same scientists announced today at the 70th Autumn Meeting of
the Japan Society of Applied Physics (Partaaaayyy!) that they had
developed the next generation of laser for use with Blu-ray discs and
it's definitely a good thing. The new blue-violet semiconductor laser,
whose optical output is as high as 500mW under pulsed operation, was
designed specifically for use in Blu-ray Disc recorders. Sharp enhanced
the optical output by using a new method of processing the edge face of
a resonator. Hold on now, this is about to go nerd hyperdrive.
Normally, a dielectric film protects the edge face of a crystal in a
semiconductor laser. For the new laser, Sharp found a way to form an
aluminum oxynitride (AlON) film between the edge face of the
semiconductor laser and the dielectric film by a sputtering method and
realized an epitaxial growth where the growth axis of the laser's
crystal corresponds to that of the AlON crystal. Wow, I think I need a
minute to come down from that one. So what does it all mean?
For starters, this new laser could lead to triple-layer or even
quad-layer Blu-ray discs. It would not only allow a drive to read twice
as deep as current dual-layer Blu-ray drives but would let it write at
8X speed on all four layers. And what it does for storage capacity will
definitely blow your mind. With the current technology we are able to
squeeze in 25GB for each layer of a Blu-ray disc. Not bad, I know. This
latest advancement by Sharp would increase this capacity up to 75GB or
even 100GB. Now that's something that has both data storage specialists
and moviemakers alike pretty excited. Especially given that the latter
was often limited when recording long-format movies with tons of extras
in full HD.
Sharp has not yet decided when to mass-produce the new blue-violet
semiconductor laser mostly because the specs for triple or more layer
Blu-ray discs haven't been developed yet. And just to let people know
that it's not their fault that you don't have this technology yet, the
company claimed that it is now ready to commercialize the laser.
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