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 Home > News > Optical Storage > Nu Tech...
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Nu Tech and DVDInfoPro bring DC Erase technology to the mass market


In an industry first for consumer level DVD writers, Nu Tech are utilising the capabilities of the Nexperia PNX7850 chipset to bring us DC Erase technology. This is made possible via six months of work between the Nu Tech engineers and the creator of DVDInfoPro, Nic Wilson.

Just what is ?DC Erase? technology?

The term DC Erase means ?Direct Current? Erase. It is also known as a ?Physical Erase.? The idea is actually an old one, not yet seen in consumer optical hardware such as DVD writers. All previous recording marks or signs of recording are erased. It is important to note this function does not replace the normal erase, blank and format functions. DC Erase works by using a continuous laser power, to revert the layer to a highly reflective state. This can overcome some problems where written data could disturb the OPC.

This function may lead to the maximum number of DOW cycles to be reduced. DVDInfoPro therefore recommends this function is used on those RW discs that have become problematic. A Quick function is also offered for those RW discs where the problem may only exist in the beginning of the disc.

Rewriteable technologies:

It is important to understand how rewriteable technologies work, so that we can better understand how DC Erase works in comparison to it. The technology behind DVD-RW is optical phase-change, which in its own right is nothing radical. However, the technology used in DVD-Rewritable does not incorporate any magnetic field like the phase-change technology used with magneto optical technology. The media themselves are generally distinguishable from DVD-R discs by their metallic grey colour and have the same basic structure as a DVD-R disc but with significant detail differences. An RW disc's phase-change medium consists of a polycarbonate substrate, moulded with a spiral groove for servo guidance, absolute time information and other data, on to which a stack (usually five layers) is deposited.

The recording layer is sandwiched between dielectric layers that draw excess heat from the phase-change layer during the writing process. In place of the DVD-R disc's dye-based recording layer, DVD-RW commonly uses a crystalline compound made up of a mix of silver, indium, antimony and tellurium. 1This rather exotic mix has a very special property: when it's heated to one temperature and cooled it becomes crystalline, but if it's heated to a higher temperature, when it cools down again it becomes amorphous. The crystalline areas allow the metallic layer to reflect the laser better while the non-crystalline portion absorbs the laser beam, so it is not reflected.

Traditionally, a DC erase was used to erase or clear data completely from recorded magnetic media by sending a direct current via write heads on metallic and magnetic tape mechanisms. It can be thought of as a complete degaussing of your media, even though it is not a magnetic process perse. Hard disc drives work on the same principle.

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