Yellow laser light is effective to the treatment of retinopathy caused by diabetes. Hitachi developed a semiconductor element that emits yellow laser light in collaboration with National Instituteof Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The new technology decreased the required number of oscillation parts to one seven hundredth and reduced the power consumption to one tenth to get the same output from the existing technology. In addition, the simple structure of the new element will contribute to cost reduction. The company plans to put the new technology into practical application to medical devices for the treatment of retinopathy in a few years.
The research team used a beryllium compound for the material of the new element that is only 0.3 cubic centimeters and able to emit a yellow laser light with a wavelength of 570 nanometers at room temperature. It consumes only 1.2 watts for an output of 50 milliwatts. The existing method that converts infrared light to yellow laser using a special crystal consumes 15 watts. Another difficult part of the development is how to miniaturize the oscillation part of laser light. The new semiconductor element is also expected to help the image by a laser project clearer.