Golden "nano-rods" could be the answer to extending the lifespan of the DVD format, if researchers from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia are to be believed.

They claim that they could fit 1.6 terabytes of data onto a disk - the equivalent of 300 ordinary DVDs - by recording on to nanometre-scale gold particles. These particles exhibit peculiar properties, the researchers say, when light is shined on them, adding two dimensions to the three dimensions that discs currently have.

Traditional DVDs are recorded with just one colour laser, but this system would record in several different colour wavelengths. The material cost of each disc wouldn't be too high either, the researchers claim - less than 5 cents per disk.

The team is working in conjunction with Samsung to develop a drive that can record and read onto a DVD-sized disc. We'll keep you posted of their progress.