One important component of CD duplication was Laser, in fact it is the foundation upon which the technology of CDs created and therefore essential to the operations involved. As CD technology has created over the past 4 decades, so too have the lasers used developed and improved to generate new uses and features of the CDs.

With lasers being an essential part of the duplication process and not just in reading CDs, the improvement in laser technology had important significance for CD duplication, while the laser process used during duplication will affect the lasers used in the CD reading phase.

At first, lasers (particularly CAT lasers) were used to scan CDs, with an infrared wavelength of 780 nanometers. Eventually DVD’s are using a reading wavelength of 650 nanometers, while Blu-Ray discs use a lower wavelength wavelength of 405 NM. This innovation of using smaller wavelength lasers is to improve the number of data that can be saved onto a disc. Primarily with the advancement of using discs to keep video and imagery, rather than just ROM and sound data, much more data have been needed to be saved on a single disc. With the actual size of discs remains the same, this data has had to be together in order to match. As a result, there is a need for lasers with less wavelengths in order to read this now more efficient data storage.

Undoubtedly, smaller laser wavelengths have been needed in order to ‘write’ the data onto the disc during the DVD and CD duplication process. At the time of duplication, a laser is used to alter the reflectivity on the area of the disc, with these different types in reflections recognized by the laser in the disc reading machine.

Lasers used during duplication are called LBR or Laser Beam Recorders. These laser equipment can differ the wavelength of the laser, based on what is needed and what the disc is to be used for, to create DVD’s, Blu-Ray, CD and other kinds of discs. LBRs use Dye-polymer mastering to write to the discs which composed of photoresist mastering and non-photoresist mastering.  Photoresist mastering uses discs with light-sensitive area materials that adjust reflection when brought out to the laser, while dye-polymer mastering use discs with a polymer area material which disappears when uncovered to concentrated energy brought out by the laser at the needed points on the disc. Each of these techniques has different benefits, and also requires a different laser setup to write to the different disc types.

Lasers used to duplicate a disc are much stronger than those used to read the disc. This makes sense as a reading machine does not want to change the area of the disc and influence the data stored on it, whereas this is the specific purpose of an LBR. A LBR needs to work by setting up the power that produces enough energy to change the area of the disc which is currently around 200mW, while disc players run at around 5mW. It allows readers to operate at a lower power and save energy.  It also allows differentiation between the both power settings to prevent readers unintentionally get damaged. In order to allow this, disc area materials that can be molded at the higher power setting while remain unchanged at the lowest setting of the reading lasers to be selected.

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