The material - which AFP described as a new crystal form of titanium oxide - is reportedly capable of switching back and forth between metal and semiconductor states when exposed to light.
"A material that changes color with light can be used in storage devices, as colors reflect light differently to contain different information. [So this is] promising as a material for a next-generation optical storage device," Shin-ichi Ohkoshi, chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo, told AFP.
"[And] Titanium oxide's market price is about one-hundredth of the rare element - germanium-antimony-tellurium - that is currently used in rewritable Blu-ray discs and DVDs. [So], you don't have to worry about procuring rare metals. Titanium oxide is cheap and safe, already being used in many products ranging from face powder to white paint."
Ohkoshi added that he was planning to kick off talks with private-sector companies over potential "commercialization" of the material.
Source: TG Daily