According to Sony, the SLD3237VF is the first blue–violet laser diode with a pulsed output power of 400mW or higher, allowing the use of a wider variety of optical components such as lenses and prisms and hence freer design of hardware.

Picture: New 400mW-output laser SLD3237VF (left) and 350mW-output laser SLD3237VFR (right).

Sony says that, to realize the high output, innovative technologies are necessary to prevent the end face of a laser resonator being melted by the heat from the laser — i.e. catastrophic optical damage (COD) — and to enhance the quality of the gallium nitride (GaN) crystal, in order to ensure high reliability.

The firm has therefore developed an end-face coating material and a film-forming method, raising the optical output threshold for causing COD compared with that of the firm’s 300mW-class laser diode.

Moreover, to improve crystal quality, Sony has developed new metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) crystal growth equipment optimized for producing GaN materials. The firm says that the equipment can grow on multiple substrates simultaneously as well as being able to deal with a future increase in demand for Blu-ray disc lasers.

Furthermore, Sony has developed a process and processing equipment that, it claims, boosts production efficiency in wafer processing.

The SLD3237VF is mounted in a standard package with a diameter of 5.6mm, and its operating temperature range is 0–85°C.

Sony has also launched the SLD3237VFR, which has a pulsed output of 350mW. Mounted in a 3.8mm-diameter package, its operating temperature range is 0–90°C.

Both lasers have a sample price of ¥1000 (about US$11.9).