Holographic disk hits 300GB mark

Holographic disk hits 300GB mark

Holographic storage developer InPhase has stored holographic data at 200Gbits per square inch, much higher than any other optical format.

The company claims it is on track to announce its first, 300GB, holographic disk later this year.

The current Plasmon UDO disk can store 30GB of data, ten times less. An expected second generation will hold 60GB, still a long way short of the InPhase product.

The high areal density is achieved by overlapping data in the depth of the recording material on the disk. Holographic storage records data throughout the volume of the recording material, not just on the surface.

A data page of approximately 1 million bits is recorded in one exposure of the laser. Each data page is located at a unique address within the material and several hundred pages of data, each with their own unique address, are recorded in the same location of the medium. Think of looking at a skyscraper building from above and being able to get to each floor.

A collection of data pages is referred to as a book. This new recording technique enables more holograms to be stored in the same volume of material by overlapping not only pages, but also books of data. This dramatically increases the storage density. It is like adding floors to a skyscraper.

Kevin Curtis, InPhase CTO, said: "Approximately 1 million bits of data were recorded per page, and 252 pages were recorded in one book. A total of fifteen books of data were overlaid in one location."

InPhase carries out this trick by having smaller page sizes due to using better lenses. The method also improves the data transfer rate which is now 27MB/sec. It was 20MB/sec.

By announcing this technology achievement InPhase is signalling that its 300GB capacity disk and drive is on schedule for a late 2006 delivery. No other optical storage method comes close to this and holographic storage looks to be a viable alternative to tape media.

Its capacity is so high that business customers in the broadcast media market will be the first market focus. But data transfer speed and media cost will still determine whether the technology catches on.

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