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  • Holographic Material Stores 20 Blu-rays on 1 Disc
Jul 2011
NISKAYUNA, N.Y., July 20, 2011 — A new microholographic material can support data recording at the same speed as Blu-ray discs but with 10 times their typical storage capacity.

Holographic storage differs greatly from today’s optical storage formats such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which store information only on up to four layers at the disc surface. Instead, holographic storage uses the entire volume of the disc material.

Holograms, or three-dimensional patterns that represent bits of information, are written into the disc at controlled depths and can then be read out. Because microholographic discs can use the entire volume of the material, their storage capacity is much greater: 10 double-layer Blu-ray discs, 20 single-layer discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive of most laptop computers.

A prototype holographic drive system designed in the Applied Optics Lab at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y. (Image: Business Wire)

This result by GE Global Research, the technology development arm of General Electric Co., is more than eight years in the making and builds upon the April 2009 demonstration of a threshold microholographic storage material that can support 500 GB of storage capacity in a standard DVD-size disc. (See: Holograms Hold 500 GB on Disc)

Peter Lorraine, manager of the company's Applied Optics Lab, said the microholographic materials are attractive solutions for archival and consumer entertainment systems as well as the consumer electronics market, adding that the microholographic discs will read and record on systems very similar to a typical Blu-ray or DVD player. In fact, the hardware and formats can be so similar to current optical storage technologies that future microholographic players will enable consumers to play back their CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

Lorraine presented the news this week at IEEE’s Joint International Symposium on Optical Memory & Optical Data Storage Topical Meeting (ISOM/ODS) in Kauai, Hawaii. 

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