JAPANESE BOFFINS have discovered a metal oxide that could be used to create an optical data storage medium that apparently can hold 200 times the amount of information stored in a Blu-ray disk.
The compound was discovered by University of Tokyo professor Shinichi Okoshi and can be produced in larger quantities and for a much cheaper price than the alloys used in Blu-ray and DVD discs.
Oxidized titanium compounds are used widely in powders and as light catalysts. The boffins produced microscopic crystals of the compound titanium pentoxide (Ti3O5) and examined their properties. The black particles conducted electricity well, but when laser light was applied to them, their structure changed to make it difficult for electricity to pass through.
They wondered what would happen if the process was reversed. They worked out a way to easily produce the crystals by heating tiny particles of the common compound titanium dioxide inside a furnace while injecting hydrogen.
According to the May 23 edition of the science journal Nature Chemistry, the process is about a hundredth of the price of using alloys created with germanium and other rare metals. µ
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