TOKYO A cross-licensing deal with Nichia Corp. will make Sony Corp. the second supplier of blue-violet laser diodes.
Nichia and Sony first announced their collaboration in December 2002. Since then the two companies have been working together to develop the laser technology while deciding on what form of partnership they would form. Along with a cross-licensing deal, they also considered a joint venture.
The cross-licensing deal involves the exchange of about 500 patents by Nichia and about 300 from Sony for optical disc recording/playback usage. At the same time, the two companies will compete against each other in the laser market.
The fruits of their collaboration have already been incorporated into Nichia's laser diode supplied last spring to Sony for its first Blu-ray recorder. Sony also has been offering samples based on the joint work since last spring.
Nichia has been offering its own short-wavelength lasers ranging from violet, blue to green. The company will use the jointly-developed diode for optical-disk applications and will begin supplying it to customers this summer.
The laser diode with 405-nm wavelength is a key component of the Blu-ray disk system and XDCAM, Sony's professional disc recording system. Sony said it intends to offer the 405-nm laser to Blu-ray disk users as well as for internal use.
A Sony spokesman declined to disclose details of the diode availability.