Its the same stuff used in sun block, cosmetics, paints, toothpaste… and makes your marshmallows white!
Recently Announced High Density Optical Disc Technology: 1000X the Capacity of Blu-Ray.
Despite the occasional musings that the future of optical storage media seems to be dimming, there are equally occasional announcements demonstrating advancements in disc capacity, increased data density and recording technology. None, however, has commanded the rapt attention the venerable CD-R enjoyed twenty odd years ago when it was first introduced.
That said, there are several players in the international community, outside the offices of Philips NV, who are pursuing development of optical disc technology with some success. Although the majority of these technologies are nascent or "not ready for prime time" they do portend well for the future of optical discs. And that brings us to a recent announcement from the University of Tokyo.
Lead scientists of a Japanese research team have tested a coating, titanium oxide, (essentially its the same stuff used in sun block, cosmetics, paints, toothpaste... and makes your marshmallows white!) which costs 1/100 the amount of the coatings currently used on DVD and Blu-Ray recordable media. Meaning the raw materials cost for manufacturing recordable discs would be dramatically reduced.
Interestingly, in crystalline form it reacts to light, switching back and forth between metal and semi-conductor to facilitate the on/off bit properties necessary to store data. With laboratory particle sizes of 5 - 20 nanometers it gives new meaning to high density storage. At 5 nm that translates to a disc the same size as a DVD (12 cm) capable of holding 1000 times as much data as a Blu-Ray disc.
When considering this development as pertains to the future of optical disc storage, one may harken back to the immortalized words of one George McFly: "I'm your density. I mean... your destiny".