GE claims data storage breakthrough with 100 DVDs on one disc

GE claims data storage breakthrough with 100 DVDs on one disc San Francisco - General Electric has achieved a breakthrough in digital storage technology, using holographic images to allow standard-size discs to hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs, the company announced Monday. The storage advance is only a laboratory success at this stage but researchers said that the technology has passed critical thresholds that will make it transferrable to commercial and consumer applications.

The new system stores digital information in holographic light patterns that are read by miniscule lasers. Work on storing data in holographs has been underway for decades and the GE breakthrough involved finding the materials and techniques to enable smaller holograms to reflect enough light for their data patterns to be detected and retrieved by standard equipment.

The GE researchers achieved a 200-fold increase in the reflective power of their holograms, which allows them to be read by current Blu-ray machines, said lead scientist Brian Lawrence in a blog posting Monday.

That could lead to the development of a machine that could read the so called "microholographic storage discs" as well as CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs. The holographic discs could hold 500 gigabytes of data, compared to the Blu-ray capacity of 50-gigabyte discs, and a standard DVD capacity of5 gigabytes.

"If this can really be done, then GE's work promises to be a huge advantage in commercializing holographic storage technology," Bert Hesselink, an optical storage expert at Stanford University, told The New York Times.

GE said it expects to first market the technology to movie studios, television networks, medical researchers and hospitals for holding data-intensive images like Hollywood films and brain scans. But the company is already talking with major electronics and optical storage producers with the goal of accessing the broader corporate and consumer market.(dpa)

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