The optical-disc format Blu-ray Disc (BD) is on the horizon. If BD is to be a success, the processes for manufacturing the discs have to be inexpensive. In a BD, the information layer is only 0.1 mm below the surface, allowing a smaller spot size of the laser beam and hence providing a much larger storage capacity than on a DVD. Because the 0.1 mm thick cover layer must satisfy stringent optical requirements, the manufacturing processes to date are expensive.
Now Degussa is announcing a breakthrough in this area. Based on a new technology (applied for patent) Degussa's Plexiglas Business Unit has developed a special film that meets all quality requirements for the 0.1 mm cover layer and can be manufactured by an economical process. That is the prerequisite for favorable mass production of the BD.
Cooperation partners Philips, Singulus and Sony have already manufactured functioning Blu-ray Disc samples based on EUROPLEX® PC 0F405 Film. Paul Put, General Manager of Philips Optical Media and Technology (OM&T): "We are very excited about this new breakthrough we jointly could achieve. This cost-effective, high quality 0.1 mm layer is the technology the media replication industry was looking for. The next step will be mass production of BD-ROM, BD-R and BD-RE based on the EUROPLEX® PC Film".
Degussa has decided on the relevant investments: "We will manufacture the quantities required for market launch from the end of 2005 in a pilot plant," says Dr. Herbert Groothues, Project Manager at Degussa, of the short-term objective. "From mid-2006, we will have a production unit capable of manufacturing EUROPLEX® PC Film for up to 500 million Blu-ray Discs per year."