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Panasonic develops 50Gbyte optical disk

Matsushita, the parent company of Panasonic, has developed a rewritable optical disk with a capacity of 50Gbytes

Matsushita, the parent company of Panasonic, has developed a rewritable optical disk with a capacity of 50Gbytes

The technology uses a blue laser to store the data on a dual-layer optical disk 120mm in diameter, said Yoshinari Takemura, a spokesman for Matsushita.

Until now, this dual-layer approach - which allows one side of a disk to hold two recording layers - was only possible using red lasers.

When a blue laser is used for recording data on an optical disk, it can record five times more data than a red laser, which can store up to 4.7Gbytes on one layer. Using a blue laser, it is possible to make disks with two layers, each of which can store around 25Gbytes of data on a 120mm disk, according to a statement issued by the company.

Matsushita has developed a new material called a germanium antimony tellurium (GeSbTe) film for the recording layer of the disk, which can record information at the high densities possible with blue lasers, Takemura said.

The disk records and retrieves data at up to 33mbps, making it three times faster than "conventional" DVD technology. Its speed and capacity make it possible for a 50Gbyte disk to record more than four hours of high-definition digital TV pictures, which have a data transfer speed of 25mbps, according to the company.

The company hopes the new optical disk will be used as a recording medium for high-definition digital TV programmes, which are due to start broadcasting in Japan in 2003, Takemura said.

The new optical disk will be unveiled in Taipei on 19 October at the International Symposium on Optical Memory.

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