Laser Based Light Sources

There are several benefits shared by all projectors that use lasers as a light source. First, laser-based light engines turn on within seconds of pressing the power button. There is no time wasted waiting for a lamp to warm up or cool down. Old mercury lamps can be damaged if unplugged before the cooling-down period ends. Laser-based light engines are incredibly reliable, lasting anywhere from 20k to 30k hours, and are mostly maintenance-free. Chances are, you would need to replace the entire projector long before the laser light engine fails. Laser light engines are incredibly bright compared to lamps and most LED-based light systems, so they would typically be the best option for projecting on large surfaces. There are typically three types of laser-light engine designs used by today’s projector manufacturers.  

Laser Phosphor

Most laser projectors utilize the least expensive solution, which is a single blue laser diode array that provides the blue light and excites a yellow phosphor color wheel. Filters are then used to break up the yellow into red and green elements. For higher brightness, some projectors use a dual blue laser light engine. One blue laser ultimately hits phosphor wheels to generate red and yellow beams, while the other blue laser handles the solely the blue component.

Hybrid Laser Light Engine

For improved color reproduction, another laser light configuration combines a red LED and a blue laser that uses a phosphor chip or a color wheel to generate green light. These hybrid laser projectors out-perform lamp-based projectors in brightness while delivering superior color and long life.  

Discrete RGB Laser

The best solution is to utilize multiple RGB lasers instead of a phosphor wheel and filters to create clean primary colors. Multi-channel laser light engines tend to produce a wider color gamut, making them a perfect choice for installations that require color accuracy in their displayed content.
In addition to much more accurate colors, because red, green, and blue light is produced by different lasers, a wider color gamut is also possible. Since the RGB laser wavelengths are specifically chosen to optimize the primary colors of red, green, and blue, a RGB laser projector has the ability to reproduce DCI-P3 or even the Rec. 2020 color gamut without the need for a color filter. Discrete RGB laser light engines are considered to be the best projector light source available, but this performance comes at a price. Laser projectors tend to be physically larger than other types of projectors and are also very expensive. These systems offer the best brightness, so for installations requiring a huge projection screen, this would be the best solution.
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