Ricoh supports both Blu-ray and HD-DVD

A new device is designed to pave the way for multiformat players and recorders that would support both next-generation HD DVD formats.

Ricoh has developed an optical component that reads and writes all disk formats, including Blu-ray disc and HD-DVD, as well as DVD and CD, with one pickup and one objective lens.

The optical device was shown in early July at the International Optoelectronics Exhibition near Tokyo. Ricoh intends to offer the device to OEMs by year's end.

The component is a 3.5mm diameter, 1mm thick round diffraction plate with minute concentric groves on both sides, which function as a diffraction grating, EE Times reported. The plate is placed between lasers and an objective lens. The diffraction grating is designed to adjust a light beam to an optimum incident ray relative to the objective lens so that light focuses on the proper position for each disk format.

The EE Times report said the data layer of the Blu-ray disc resides 0.1mm from the disk's surface, while the HD-DVD data layer is 0.6mm deep from the disk's surface, the same as DVD disks. CDs have a data layer depth of 1.1mm from the disk surface.

The device is designed to pave the way for multiformat players and recorders that could identify which format disk is loaded. Based on the disc information, the optical diffraction component would adjust the laser beam with its diffraction grating for each format and pass it to the objective lens. The lens would then form a beam spot at the appropriate depth for each disk format, the report said.

EE Times noted that although the diffraction device works for both reading and writing modes, Ricoh will initially offer the device for disk players only. That's because some laser beam energy is lost at the grating, and using the diffraction device for recording would require a blue laser with higher power than those used in conventional recorders.