Ricoh device allows hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD burners

With PC Blu-ray re-writers retailing for close to $1,000, the prospect of buying burners for both HD DVD and Blu-ray formats might seem unappealing. A new optical component developed by Ricoh could help bridge the gap between the formats, however. According to EE Times, Ricoh claims its new component enables reading and writing to both Blu-ray and HD DVD in addition to CD and DVD. EE Times describes the part as follows:
The component is a 3.5-mm diameter, 1-mm thick round diffraction plate with minute concentric groves on both sides which function as a diffraction grating.

The diffraction 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.

Ricoh will display the diffraction plate at the 2006 Optoelectronics Exhibition in Japan this week. Equipment manufacturers will get their hands on the device by the year's end.
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