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Q & A: Violet Lasers

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Would a violet laser be more expensive then a green laser? (I'm assuming that because violet has a lower wavelength).
- Owen Ly (age 16)
A:
Owen -

You're right that violet lasers are more expensive than green ones. But it's not directly because of the wavelength. Each different wavelength of laser is made differently. They use different gases inside and different materials as diodes. (Check out the answer to the question "Laser Colors" about why green and red lasers are different prices and how they're made.) These different gases and diodes cost different amounts to make, which is why different colors of lasers cost different amounts. (Although there does tend to be some correlation to wavelength.)

They actually just figured out how to make a good violet laser (350-430 nM wavelength) at the end of 1998, so the technology's still pretty new. These us an unusual type of material called "gallium nitrides" to produce the violet wavelength. You can buy these lasers from the Nichia company, and they run between $1000 and $2000 right now (May 2000), although the price is likely to fall with time.

Here's a great picture of a violet laser taken from the Nichia Page (http://www1a.mesh.ne.jp/nichia/vlaser-e.htm):

Violet Laser

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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