Holographic technology handles massive data storage

APRIL 19--At last month's annual National Association of Broadcasters trade show, InPhase Technologies (Longmont, CO; www.inphase-technologies.com) demonstrated what the company claims is the world's first holographic video-recording system--Tapestry.

Apr 19th, 2002

APRIL 19--At last month's annual National Association of Broadcasters trade show, InPhase Technologies (Longmont, CO; www.inphase-technologies.com) demonstrated what the company claims is the world's first holographic video-recording system--Tapestry. Based on more than eight years of research and development, conducted mostly at Bell Labs (Murray Hill, NJ), the Tapestry system includes both drive and media products. Whereas future generations of Tapestry will provide terabytes of storage on a single disk, the initial write-once product is expected to record 100 Gbytes of video on a disk.

Polight Technologies (Cambridge, England; www.polight.technologies.com) is also developing holographic-data-storage technology to capitalize on research by Stephen Elliott at the Cambridge University Chemical Laboratory (Cambridge, England). "The main reason why optical data storage has not yet been commercialized is due to a materials problem," Elliott says. Interested companies are divided on the types of technology to use. While companies such as InPhase Technologies, Bayer AG (Leverkusen, Germany), and Aprilis (Maynard, MA) are opting for ferroelectric crystals or polymers, others, such as Polight, are using semiconducting glasses.

Although many companies are still tailoring suitable materials for holographic data storage, available products that use the technology are still, it seems, at least two years away. After suitable materials are found, their cost of manufacturing in large quantities will determine which company will emerge as the leader in this high-density data-storage market.

For more information, see the May 2002 Vision Systems Design.

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