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GE Develops 500 Gigabyte Micro-Holographic Disc

Prototype holographic drive system designed by GE researchers (GE Global Research)

Prototype holographic drive system designed by GE researchers (GE Global Research)

The technology research division of General Electric Co. says it successfully demonstrated an optical storage technology using micro-holographic material that can support data recording at the same speed as Blu-ray discs. The technology will be discussed today at IEEE’s Joint International Symposium on Optical Memory & Optical Data Storage Topical Meeting in Kauai, Hawaii.

GE Global Research says holographic storage is a different type of technology than current optical storage systems. Current optical formats like DVDs and Blu-ray discs store information only on up to four layers at the surface of the disc. Holographic storage technology, on the other hand, uses the entire volume of the disc material, at speeds comparable to Blu-ray disc recording.

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 micro-holographic discs can use the entire volume of the material, their storage capacities are greater than existing storage technologies. GE says its material, when used in a standard DVD-sized disc, will match the 500 gigabyte capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs, or the hard drive of most laptop computers.

GE plans to market the technology first to the professional archival  industry, but eventually move from there into the consumer electronics market. The company says micro-holographic discs will read and record on systems very similar to a typical Blu-ray or DVD player. GE’s research and licensing teams are expected to provide samples of the media to companies interested in licensing its holographic data storage platform.

Read more: Intel Releases Smaller Solid State Storage Drive

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