The lighting technology in our kitchen comes from Nichia LEDs. It required quite a bit of research, because the main light source in the kitchen is a large skylight oriented to south-east. Therefore, to work in the twilight of dawn and dusk, we needed both high efficiency in terms a luminance and a smooth spectrum compatible with D illuminants.
Recently, Nichia has developed laser technology that could make LCD televisions 25% more energy efficient than LED-based TVs. The major maker of LEDs has created a way to produce laser light that is 1,000 times stronger than laser light created through conventional methods, but which uses less power.
The company implemented semiconductor design changes that made it possible to create a laser system capable of emitting stronger blue and green light. The semiconductor device is made of gallium nitride, the same material used in LEDs. Green and blue laser light has traditionally been relatively weak and therefore is not used in many commercially available products.
Unlike light created by LEDs, laser light does not get diffused and thus can illuminate liquid crystal display TVs and PC monitors with far less power when used as backlighting — up to 50% in the case of PCs. Mitsubishi Electric and other companies have already developed red semiconductor lasers that can emit a strong light, but until now there had been no such system for green and blue lasers.
Nichia's breakthrough means semiconductor laser light is now available in the three primary colors. Nichia has begun shipping samples to consumer electronics makers and aims to commercialize the technology by 2016.