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G.e.'s Breakthrough Can Put 100 Dvds on a Disc

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GE Scientist Brian Lawrence

Brian Lawrence leads G.E.s holographic storage program.

Nathaniel Brooks / The New York Times

General Electric (GE) holographic researchers have announced a digital storage breakthrough that will enable standard-sized disks to hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs. Although the advancement is currently only a laboratory success, experts say the technology could lead to a new generation in storage devices with a wide range of uses in commercial, scientific, and consumer markets. Holographic data could potentially store far more data in the same space than conventional optical technology, which is currently used in DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

Holographic storage technology had not been on track for mainstream use, but the GE advancement could put the technology on that path. GE researchers took a different approach from previous research, relying on smaller, less complex holograms, a technique known as microholographic storage. A major challenge for the researchers was finding the materials and techniques needed to enable smaller holograms to reflect enough light for their data patterns to be detected and retrieved. The recent advancement led to a 200-fold increase in the reflective power of their holograms, putting the technology at the bottom range of light reflections readable by current Blu-ray machines.

GE expects that when holographic discs are introduced, possibly in 2011 or 2012, the technology will cost less than 10 cents a gigabyte. "The price of storage per gigabyte is going to drop precipitously," says ballpark," says Brian Lawrence, the scientist who leads G.E.'s holographic storage program.

From The New York Times
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