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Cool Development: Sony's Blue Laser


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COOL DEVELOPMENT: SONY'S BLUE LASER

Sony has developed a semiconductor laser, or diode, that emits blue laser light--the object of intense, worldwide research for years. Such a device could triple the amount of information packed onto spinning optical disks. That's because blue light has a shorter wavelength than the red light emitted by the laser diodes in today's compact-disk players, so blue laser light can be focused to a much smaller dot.

A marketable version of the diodes would make it possible to squeeze up to 3 1/2 hours of digital music onto a 5-inch CD. The problem is that Sony's new diodes now perform only at temperatures around -295F. So, it's going to be a while before Sony can get this development out of the lab and into homes.EDITED BY HARRIS COLLINGWOOD


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