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Photonics Dictionary

phase-change optical disc

An erasable data recording and storage medium that uses a laser to heat the crystalline surface of the disc to a certain temperature, at which it becomes amorphous and records a bit of information; when reading the stored information, the laser passes over the disc at a lower temperature, detecting the resulting differences in reflected light. Erasure is accomplished by laser scanning at an intermediate power, causing the amorphous areas on the disc to revert to the crystalline state.
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