New Technology Could Boost DVD Capacity 1000x
A new breakthrough by a Japanese research team may result in DVDs that hold 1,000 times more information than current discs.
Current single-layer Blu-ray discs, the most advanced kind of optical storage media on the market, hold five times as much information as a standard DVD. This new manufacturing technique would vastly outperform either disc technology.
The new technique uses a very common compound, titanium oxide, to act as an information-storage medium. Researchers found that titanium oxide, which is normally black, changed to brown when hit by light. When this happens, the titanium oxide changes from a simple metal oxide to a semiconductor, making it possible to use it in optical discs, such as DVDs, that already use lasers to read information.
Even more important to use in commercial products, titanium oxide does all this at room temperature. The University of Tokyo research team created particles of the compound as small as five nanometers in diameter. At that size, if used in a DVD, the titanium oxide would make it possible to pack in 1,000 times the information that can be stored on a Blu-ray disc (standard single-layer Blu-rays hold 25GB).
Another benefit of titanium oxide is its price. It is vastly cheaper than the rare element cocktail composed of germanium-antimony-tellurium currently used in Blu-ray and DVD discs. And it's already used in many consumer products.
While Shin-ichi Ohkoshi, chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo, already has plans to talk to companies about commercializing the technology, don't get too excited about seeing super-DVDs any time soon.
As Internet connections and broadband speeds become more reliable, the technology industry is seeing a migration away from physical media. Instead of buying DVDs and Blu-ray discs, people are downloading and streaming movies from sites such as Netflix. As this trend continues, discs will become less important to the average consumer, meaning that there may not be enough demand for larger disc capacity to make this technology commercially viable.