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GE holography breakthrough validates 500GB disc technology

GE Global Research, the R&D arm of General Electric, announced Monday it has successfully demonstrated a threshold micro-holographic storage material that can support 500 gigabytes of storage capacity in a standard DVD-size disc. This is equal to the capacity of 100 DVDs or 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs.

Although GE’s holographic storage technology represents a breakthrough in capacity, the hardware and formats are so similar to current optical storage technology that the micro-holographic players will enable consumers to play back their CDs, DVDs and BDs, says the company.

Whereas DVDs and Blu-ray discs store information only on the surface of the disc, holographic storage technology uses the entire volume of the disc material.

“GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next-generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer,” said Brian Lawrence, who leads GE’s Holographic Storage program. “Because GE’s micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home. The day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support high resolution formats like 3-D television is closer than you think.”

GE has been working on holographic storage technology for over six years. The demonstration of materials that can support 500 gigabytes of capacity represents a major milestone in making micro-holographic discs that ultimately can store more than one terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes of data.

In addition to pushing the limits of storage capacity, GE researchers also have been focused on making the technology easily adaptable to existing optical storage formats and manufacturing techniques. GE initially will be focusing on the commercial archival industry followed by the consumer market for its micro-holographic storage technology.

Story filed 29.04.09

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