Japanese researchers have discovered a material that could be used to make low-cost discs with a storage capacity that puts existing storage media to shame. Described as a new crystal form of titanium oxide, the material switches from a black-color metal state that conducts electricity to a brown semiconductor when exposed to light, according to Shin-ichi Ohkoshi of the University of Tokyo. That transformation occurs at room temperature and provides an on-off function for data storage.

Ohkoshi says the material is promising for next-generation optical storage, and his team has successfully created the material in particles measuring 5-to-20nm, the AFP reports. It's said that the new disc could hold over 1,000 times more data than a Blu-ray disc or upwards of 25TB. Furthermore, titanium oxide is substantially cheaper than the rare element germanium-antimony-tellurium, which is used in Blu-ray discs and DVDs, and it's already used in products ranging from face powder to white paint.

There's no telling when such discs will hit the market, but Ohkoshi will start talks with private-sector companies for "commercialization."