This could be the next generation of low-cost storage: General Electric says it knows how to make standard-size discs hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs. GE researchers studied holographic storage that stores data in light patterns on light-sensitive material. Holograms can act like microscopic mirrors to refract light patterns when a laser hits them, allowing recorded data to be retrieved and played.
The GE approach relies on smaller, simpler holograms (microholographic storage) and their success was to find the materials and techniques so smaller holograms could reflect enough light for their data patterns to be detected and retrieved. GE’s approach scatters holograms across a disc (similar to today’s optical formats so a GE player can also read CD, DVD and Blu-ray). GE can hold 500GB of data. (Blu-ray is maxes out at 50 GB discs versus a standard DVD at about 5 GB.)
G.E expects introduction in 2011 or 2012 at less than USD $.10 a gigabyte — and then expects prices to fall further. GE will first sell the technology to commercial markets like movie studios, TV networks, medical researchers and hospitals. Selling to the broader corporate and consumer market is the larger goal. G.E. wants to work with partners to license its technology and is already talking with major electronics and optical storage producers.