GE holodisc
Storage solution offers 20 times the capacity of Blu-ray Disc, could be on sale within a few years

Scientists working at GE Global Research, the upstate New York technology development section of General Electric, have demonstrated a recordable disc able to hold 500GB of data in a standard CD/DVD/Blu-ray Disc 12cm format.

GE says that "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."

And the eventual goal is to develop the technology further to give 1TB capacity – all in the same size as a current CD.

The scientists say the disc, using a micro-holographic technology, is mainly aimed at archiving use, but temptingly they add that micro-holographic players will be able to play all current 12cm disc media.

Brian Lawrence, who leads the GE project, says that "Because GE's micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home.

More after the break

"The day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support high resolution formats like 3-D television is closer than you think.”

The company's scientists have been working on the technology for six years, and as well as increasing the capacity, a priority has been ensuring the new system is easily adaptable to existing disc systems and manufacturing techniques.

For more on the technology, see this GE video.