GE Creates 500GB Optical Disc
General Electric (GE) has developed an optical disc that it claims can store 500GB of data – the highest capacity optical storage option currently available. The disc has the ability to store data equivalent to 100 DVDs.
Currently, Blu-ray discs provide the highest storage capacity among optical discs at 25GB to 50GB. But the new micro-holographic disc stores data in three dimensional holographs rather than pits on the surface as in traditional DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which gives it amazing storage capacity.
Micro-holographic discs work on a simple principle – higher the reflectivity, more the storage capacity. By developing this disc, the company has managed to resolve the biggest challenge in the development of this disc, namely increasing the reflectivity of the holograms stored on the discs to the extent where players can both read and write to the discs.
While the new disc will initially be targeted at the archive industry, GE believes it will eventually find use in the consumer market place and home use industry. The technology is still in a laboratory testing phase, but GE is confident of its success as it is possible to develop players and writers for the discs that can also play DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
In an official statement, the company stated, “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 Blu-ray discs.”
“GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer,” Brian Lawrence, head of GE’s Holographic Storage division added. “The day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support high resolution formats like 3D television is closer than you think.”
While researchers have been working on micro-holographic technology for decades and believe it to be the future of optical storage, the discs are far from mass-acceptance. GE will have to take into account the not-so-enthusiastic response received by Blu-ray discs; and the competition offered by digital distribution and cloud computing, which many experts believe are the long-term answer to content delivery and storage.