Crystal form of common material could be used to create "super-discs"

Long used as an ingredient in not only white paint, but make-up; a new crystal form of titanium oxide could be used to create optical disks with 1000x-plus the capacity of a standard DVD.

The material, which can change between conductor and semi-conductor states under the presence of light, can be used to store data at multiple levels. By modulating the intensity, angle or wavelength of the light, the material itself changes colour allowing multiple layers of data storage. If the smallest created particle (5nm) was used, a disc could potentially be produced with the capacity of 1000 Blu-Ray discs.

The property, called "photoreversible metal–semiconductor phase transition" has been discovered in other materials before, but this is the first occurance of a metal oxide that behaves this way at room temperature. Nature Chemistry,  in a paper published on 23 May 2010, explains that "Light irradiation causes reversible switching between this trapped state (λ-Ti3O5) and the other energy-minimum state (β-Ti3O5), both of which are persistent phases. This is the first demonstration of a photorewritable phenomenon at room temperature in a metal oxide. λ-Ti3O5 satisfies the operation conditions required for a practical optical storage system."

Shin-ichi Ohkoshi, one of the researchers on the project at the University of Tokyo, has stated "it was not known when a disc with the material would be manufactured and put to practical use" adding that he would start talks with private-sector companies for commercialisation; according to Physorg.com

Thanks to Neowin member Neo003 for the news tip

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30 Comments

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pretty sure if even 1/10th of these stories about such and such wonderful discovery to do with optical media came to be true we'd have 70TB discs made from crystallized monkey brains by now

Bemani Dog said,
The real question is, can you get enough titanium to make mass production possible?
The real question is....will it blend?

Read/Write speeds would be good to know and just think of the loss of information if the disk was misplaced or damaged with that much information on it.

It'll still be years before we see any advancements in this area. Very few companies will be willing to make a large investment in a brand new and untested technology.

hooligan4life said,
Yeah until you get that one tiny scratch

Which is why you have that 2nd disc as a backup.

Edited by Rigby, Jun 1 2010, 4:00pm :

This is actually a great thing, especially for video game companies. Even though blu-ray games as far as I know arent really there for the PC, it will mean much more room to play with graphics, movies, and addons.

Ridlas said,
Pffft. The price for one disc would be like 20 dollars for one disc.
And I think you came short with that...

Cost of production? Write/Read speeds (as mentioned in the comments above)? Availability? Compatibility with existing hardware?

A wonderful idea in concept, much like the holographic disks (I think they were holographic, might be wrong). But there is not enough information at this time to get excited about it in my opinion.

The Teej said,
By the time this could come to market, optical media probably won't mean much. Long live the SSD!

Doing backups for +100 computers/laptops daily would be really nice if done on this new dvd discs. Not much "in the cloud" love for backups yet.

excalpius said,
Blu-ray is already obsolete. Modern consumers don't use physical media anymore.
Likewise. I always wondered why they never embraced flash memory as a new medium for videos. Not only could the size be drastically reduced (think shipping and carbon footprint) but no scratching or cracking the disc. Not to mention the tremendous read/write capabilities. I'm guessing since they aren't dirt cheap yet, hopefully soon enough.

Although I still prefer digital downloading personally.

What? The movie companies don't care that much whether your disc breaks or not. If anything that could be more sales. Plus protecting a video file on a USB flash drive of some kind would be more difficult I would imagine. It won't happen anytime soon.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
What? The movie companies don't care that much whether your disc breaks or not. If anything that could be more sales. Plus protecting a video file on a USB flash drive of some kind would be more difficult I would imagine. It won't happen anytime soon.
I was thinking as a consumer Encrypting flash memory is quite easy, as strong as other methods? Not sure. I wouldn't suggest using a USB key, something more like an SD card. Imagine your dvd/bluray player being the size of a deck of cards

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
And it's not "physical" media; it's optical media.
Dude, its a physical product. Stop being pedantic, you know that he meant that its physical as apposed to pure data like downloads and so did everyone else. So what was the need for that remark?

Edited by M4x1mus, Jun 2 2010, 10:15am :