A new record/readout technology from Sony, called IRISTER, increases the storage capacity of magneto-optical disks by a factor of six. If it can be combined with short-wavelength blue lasers, which Sony is working on intensively, storage could be upped to 20 times current capacity, or 13 gigabytes.
The basic principle of IRISTER is based on the fact that only the hottest portion of the area irradiated by the laser can be read. The new disk has two layers of material: a readout layer and, under it, a record layer. The signals on the underlying record layer can be read only when the top layer reaches a certain temperature, and that area is only the spot under the hottest part of the beam. The process virtually eliminates the problem of crosstalk.
Sony officials stressed that IRISTER is new technology and there are no immediate plans for commercialization. A spokesperson said Sony announced the development to show that the maximum capacity of optical storage technology has not yet been reached.