Phase change technology has progressed from the original invention of Ovshinsky to become the leading choice for rewritable optical disks. ECD's early work in phase change materials and methods for operating in a direct overwrite fashion were crucial to the successes that have been achieved. Since the introduction of the first rewritable phase change products in 1991, the market has expanded from CD-RW into rewritable DVD with creative work going on worldwide. Phase change technology is ideally suited to address the continuous demand for increased storage capacity. First, laser beams can be focused to ever-smaller spot sizes using shorter wavelength lasers and higher performance optics. Blue lasers are now commercially viable and high numerical aperture and near field lenses have been demonstrated. Second, multilevel approaches can be used to increase capacity by a factor of three or more with concomitant increases in data transfer rate. In addition, ECD has decreased manufacturing costs through the use of innovative production technology. These factors combine to accelerate the widespread use of phase change technology. As in all our technologies, such as thin film photovoltaics, nickel metal hydride batteries, hydrogen storage systems, fuel cells, electrical memory, etc., we have invented the materials, the products, the production machines and the production processes for high rate, low-cost manufacture.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.