Out with the Old and In with the Blue
March 14, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University senior Dan Haeger spent a ten-week
summer internship at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) investigating
various ways to manufacture blue lasers so that their products can be more consumer
friendly. Blue laser devices are being developed by researchers as the next step in
cutting-edge electronics, with the hopes of replacing red laser products such as DVD
“We’re trying to make a certain generation of electronics cheaper and more affordable
for the public,” says Haeger, a physics and economics double-major from Wheaton, Ill.
According to Haeger, blue lasers provide the latest advances in technology, but they
are more expensive to manufacture than red lasers. Blue lasers currently cost around
$200-$300 to produce, while the price of red lasers is drastically lower at $0.99.
Prior to the mid 1990s, popular electronics such as DVD players, laser printers and
medical equipment commonly used red lasers because of their availability. Over the
past five years, however, red laser products have been replaced by blue laser technologies
to provide consumers with higher sound and image quality with more storage capacity.
After ten weeks of research, Haeger and the UCSB team discovered the most optimal
blue laser design that will ultimately increase blue laser product availability to
average consumers. Companies such as Mitsubishi, says Haeger, will use these findings
in electronics until another option is made.
For more information on Dan’s research at UCSB, visit his report at http://www.nnin.org/nnin_2007reu.html.
Contact: Lauren Pietruszka, ’09 (309) 556-3181