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GE holographic disc stores 500GB of data

Researchers at GE have validated technology that will one day usher in the next generation of optical storage -- holographic storage. The researchers have developed a disc the size of a standard DVD that can hold 500GB of data. The researchers say that conventional optical storage discs only store information on the surface of a disc while holographic storage can store information on the entire volume of the disc material.

Tiny holographic bits of information are written to the disc in patterns and can then be read back by the drive. The capacity of holographic discs are a breakthrough, but the technology used in the process is similar enough to the current DVD and Blu-ray technology in wide use that future optical drives will be able to read CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and holographic discs.

GE's Brian Lawrence said in a statement, "GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer. 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 reports that its researchers have been able to successfully record micro-holographic marks approaching one percent reflectivity at a diameter of about one micron. The one-micron size will allow a disc the size of a conventional DVD to hold 500GB of data. GE has been working on holographic storage for six years and the 500GB capacity is a milestone in its research. The researchers hope to eventually devise a way to store 1,000GB of data on a single disc using the holographic process. In 2007, InPhase started shipping holographic writers and media that could store 300GB per disc.

GE's Bill Kernick said, "GE’s holographic storage program has turned the corner, and with this milestone we can now intensify our efforts in commercialization opportunities. We’ll continue to engage with a variety of strategic partners to create the best route from product development to introduction into the marketplace."

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sounds cool, now I just wanna know...
By jlips6 on 4/28/2009 11:54:59 PM , Rating: 3
how resistant is it to fingerprints and scratching?
How much does it cost per disc?
What's the Read/Write speed?
Is this ready for efficient production?

RE: sounds cool, now I just wanna know...
By Samus on 4/29/2009 3:41:36 AM , Rating: 4
your last question answers your first three.

until its ready for production, nobody knows!

RE: sounds cool, now I just wanna know...
By Hiawa23 on 4/29/2009 8:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
pretty impressive. I hear some keep saying what happens when the disc get scratched but if you take care of your disc this really is not an issue. 500GB is pretty impressive but I hear engineers are working on 400GB Blu ray discs.

RE: sounds cool, now I just wanna know...
By Samus on 4/29/2009 11:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
Pioneer already has working 400GB multilayer bluray discs, but there are conflicting reports about backwards compatiblity. I've read everything from "it's backwards compatible out of the box" to "requires player firmware update" to "will require optical pickup modification to read the non surface layers."

Confusingly, my impression was BD players can already read dual layers, so the mechanics to focus beyond the surface layer are already present. Theoretically all that should be required is a firmware update to recalibrate the focus stepping, which would be dope (proud bluray burner owner :)

By Silver2k7 on 4/30/2009 8:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
400GB in 16 layers, compared to the standard 1 or 2 layers, this does not sound possible with a firmware only change.

I believe Sanyo talked about 4 layerd discs 100GB, but they needed a new laserdiode.. and hoped to be able to have them on the market in 2011.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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