Boffins have developed a new storage medium that could replace CDs within five years.

The new technology is paper-thin and can hold up to 1GB of data. It was developed by researchers from Princeton University and HP. The invention also benefits from being inexpensive to produce, as it uses a small amount of silicon with common plastics.

Researchers have identified a previously unknown property of a commonly used conductive plastic coating dubbed PEDOT. This conducts electricity at low voltages but acts as a semiconductor at higher voltages.

Scientists added fuses to the material. When a high voltage is applied to parts of it, a permanent trail of blown and unblown fuses is left behind. These can represent zeros and ones in binary format, which means the solution can be used to store data.

Research is now moving toward developing the technology as a rewriteable format. Despite this, the technology as it stands offers an inexpensive storage medium, scientists told InfoWorld.