The past decade has seen an explosive growth in the optical memory industry. In 1998, around 200 million optical drives were shipped and more than 10 billion disks were pressed, generating a worldwide business of more than 13 billion US dollars. In the same time the storage capacity has leapt from 0.65 GBytes for a CD to 4.7 Gbytes for a DVD. E!2254 BLUESPOT aims to take this even further by making the European multimedia industry more competitive in relation to its American counterparts.

The BLUESPOT project is creating a new drive that uses a blue laser diode to access single or dual layer disks with 40 Gbyte capacity, leaving no doubt that rewritable optical disk recorders will replace VCRs in the coming years. This means more music, more data or more video on each DVD. It is also expected that even a two-hour HDTV film, that has twice the picture resolution of analogue TV, will fit on a single disk.

"Having the EUREKA label improved the overall image of the project."

Dr Hartmut Richter
Thomson Multimedia, Germany

According to Dr Hartmut Richter, Laboratory Manager of the main project partner Thomson Multimedia in Germany, "the project began in January 2000 and excellent progress has been made. We have fixed the physical format of the media, set the laser wavelength of 405nm, a disk capacity of over 20Gbyte per layer of a 12cm disk and a user data rate of 30Mbit/sec.

A consortium of German partners developed some optical key components (LC elements, beam shaping optics, lenses, detectors) while the French partners, CEA Grenoble, developed the disk technology leading to a working test system."

The next development phase is to push each component system further to reach the necessary performance and storage targets.. Development of beam shaping optics for dual layer recording to achieve higher optical light power on the disk as dual layer disks require higher writing powers.. Optimisation of the single layer disks for high data transfer rate, overwriting and the development of dual layer disk technology combining layer stack development and disk replication technology.

BLUESPOT has drawn on the experiences of a previous EUREKA project, E!1505 REMOD, featured in the EUREKA Treasures exhibition that developed technology to write to multi-layer DVDs.

"BLUESPOT is a logical extension of REMOD. The key project partners are the same for both projects. In the REMOD project we have developed all the technological basics for DVD recording. We can now build on the experience from this project."

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.