Certainly, this development has pushed the era of Blu-ray discs to another level, further bolstering the storage capacity of discs with a major breakthrough in the development of next generation optical storage technology. GE researchers have successfully demonstrated a threshold micro-holographic storage material that can support 500 gigabytes of storage capacity in a standard DVD-size disc. This is equal to the capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive for a large desktop computer.
GE’s micro-holographic discs will be able to be read and recorded on systems very similar to a typical Blu-ray or DVD player. Holographic storage is different from today’s optical storage formats like DVDs and Blu-ray discs. DVDs and Blu-ray discs store information only on the surface of the disc; holographic storage technology uses the entire volume of the disc material.
Holograms, or three-dimensional patterns that represent bits of information, are written into the disc and can then be read out. Although GE’s holographic storage technology represents a breakthrough in capacity, the hardware and formats are so similar to current optical storage technology that the micro-holographic players will enable consumers to play back their CDs, DVDs and BDs.
GE initially will be focusing on the commercial archival industry followed by the consumer market for its micro-holographic storage technology.