How much would an optical disc need to store for you care? Would a terabyte be enough? Fujifilm has developed a new recording method reportedly capable of cramming up to 1TB on a single optical disc. The technology packs 25GB per layer, the same amount of data as a Blu-ray disc, but can stack as many as 20 layers. Record data on both sides, and you've got an even terabyte.
The new recording method combines a "two-photon absorption material" with "heat-mode recording." TechOn has a good summary of the official Fujifilm whitepaper (PDF) if you want more details on how it works. The recording process involves making "irreversible" changes to the media, suggesting that rewriting may not be possible. Reading the data is apparently a little complicated, as well; the reflectance of playback signals is only 0.5%, substantially lower than Blu-ray's 20%.
Fortunately, the media doesn't appear to be difficult to produce. Fujifilm says an eight-layer sample can be manufactured in less than half the time it takes to make four-layer Blu-ray disc. The material purportedly has the potential to store multiple bits, as well, raising the theoretical capacity ceiling to 15TB per disc.
While there's no timeline for the multi-bit recording capabilities, Fujifilm expects to bring the single-bit, 1TB disc to market by 2015. Pricing should be comparable to magnetic tape, the company says, which makes me think the technology will be targeted at enterprise customers rather than mainstream consumers.