Nichia’s BG Lasers Raise TV Backlight Efficiency

Japan’s Nichia has developed a laser backlight technology for LCD TVs, which could be 25% more efficient than LEDs.

Sources, speaking to The Nikkei, said that Nichia had found a way to produce laser light up to 1,000 times stronger than that produced through conventional means, but which uses less power. Changes to the design of the semiconductor – which is made of gallium nitiride – made the laser system capable of emitting brighter blue and green light, which is normally weaker.

Philips’ PFL8900 TV uses a red laser and cyan LEDs in the backlightLaser light has a uniform wavelength and can be projected in a straight line, making optical components potentially more efficient. Unlike the light from LEDs, it does not get diffused and so can use far less power when used as backlighting.

Some companies, such as Mitsubishi, already had TVs using red lasers (we saw some from Philips/Funai at CES this year – Philips Goes All-Out With Android), but green and blue lasers have so far not been used. Nichia’s work means that semiconductor laser light is now available in the RGB colours.

Samples have begun shipping to consumers, say the sources, and commercialisation should take place next year.

Analyst Comment

Not mentioned in the Nikkei story is that lasers can potentially deliver the full Rec. 2020 gamut, which quantum dots and other backlights cannot. (BR)