Published today in the scientific journal Nature, the research describes how the use of nanoscopic particles can increase the amount of information contained on a single disc, without increasing its size.
Discs currently have three spatial dimensions, but using nanoparticles the Swinburne researchers were able to introduce a spectral - or colour - dimension as well as a polarisation dimension.
To create the ‘colour dimension' researchers inserted gold nanorods onto a disc's surface.
Because nanoparticles react to light according to their shape, this allowed the researchers to record information in a range of different colour wavelengths on the same physical disc location.
"This is a major improvement on current DVDs that are recorded in a single colour wavelength using a laser," researchers said.
They were also able to introduce an extra dimension onto the disc using polarisation.
When researchers projected light waves onto the disc, the direction of the electric field contained within them aligned with the gold nanorods.
This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different angles.
"The polarisation can be rotated 360 degrees," said one of the researchers, Dr James Chon.
"So for example, we were able to record at zero degree polarisation. Then on top of that, we were able to record another layer of information at 90 degrees polarisation, without them interfering with each other."
Some issues, such as the speed at which the discs can be written on, are yet to be resolved.
However the researchers - who have already signed an agreement with Samsung - are confident the discs will be commercially available within five to 10 years.
The researchers acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council in the project.
It was carried out by Peter Zijlstra, Dr James Chon and Professor Min Gu from the university's Centre for Micro-Photonics.