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September 8, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 6:53pm


By CBR Staff Writer

A Japanese researcher, Shuji Nakamura, from Nichia Chemical Industries has cracked a long-running semiconductor problem, the production of long lifespan, room temperature blue laser diodes, in the second major innovation he has made in semiconductors research. Nakamura was the first person to build a blue Light Emitting Diode, using Gallium Arsenide in 1992, which is still the market leader, and apparently no semiconductor company has managed to produce a diode of the same quality. Nakamura is apparently miles ahead of the competition again, having produced a long lifespan blue laser diode. He expects to have built a production quality diode by the end of 1998, and the product will be commercialized by Tokushima, Japan-based Nichia. The rivals for the market who are most of the other semiconductor and consumer electronics firms, including Sony Corp, Fujitsu Ltd and a US consortium led by Hewlett-Packard Co. The wavelength of infra-red laser diodes used for reading CD-ROMs restrict the quantity of information that can be stored on optical media. If blue light is used, the bits of data can be stored as smaller impressions on the disk, and still read by the laser, upping the storage four fold. Other applications for Blue lasers include high resolution laser printers, high resolution displays, and communications applications. It will also mean that we can have blue LEDs winking at us from our consumer electronics devices in addition to red and green.

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