General Electric Global Research says it has figured out a way to put up to 500GB of data on a regular-sized DVD disc under laboratory conditions. GE says its breakthrough was achieved by writing 3-dimensional patterns that represent data onto a disc made of highly reflective material.
The disc then acts as a mirror for making a laser to pick up the entire piece of data. GE's process doesn't just put information onto the surface of the disc -- as DVDs and CDs do -- but etches the micro-holographic patterns below the surface of the disc as well.
Holographic disc-based storage is a long ways off from consumers, but its potential has many in the storage community excited. Experts see micro-holographic players and discs over time have the potential of becoming a low-cost storage alternative to DVDs and Blu-ray discs. By comparison, the highest capacity Blu-ray discs can store up to 50GB of data, while the most common type of DVD holds less than 9GB of information. GE's eventual goal is to store up to 1 TB of data on the new disc format. GE says its micro-holographic technology is backward compatible -- able to read CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
GE says it is eager to take its micro-holographic technology out of the lab and put it on store shelves. GE says its first step in that direction is to target data-intensive business customers like movie studios and medical researchers, but the eventual goal is to put micro-holographic players in the home.