Devices that use light to
store and read data have been the backbone of data storage for nearly two decades.
Compact discs revolutionized data storage in the early 1980s, allowing multi-megabytes
of data to be stored on a disc that has a diameter of a mere 12 centimeters and
a thickness of about 1.2 millimeters. In 1997, an improved version of the CD,
called a digital versatile disc (DVD), was released, which enabled the storage
of full-length movies on a single disc.
and DVDs are the primary data storage methods for music, software, personal computing
and video. A CD can hold 783 megabytes of data. A double-sided, double-layer DVD
can hold 15.9 GB of data, which is about eight hours of movies. These conventional
storage mediums meet today's storage needs, but storage technologies have to evolve
to keep pace with increasing consumer demand. CDs, DVDs and magnetic storage all
store bits of information on the surface of a recording medium. In order to increase
storage capabilities, scientists are now working on a new optical storage method
called holographic memory that will go beneath the surface and use the volume
of the recording medium for storage, instead of only the surface area. Three-dimensional
data storage will be able to store more information in a smaller space and offer
faster data transfer times.
memory is developing technology that has promised to revolutionalise the storage
systems. It can store data upto 1 Tb in a sugar cube sized crystal. Data from
more than 1000 CDs can fit into a holographic memory System. Most of the computer
hard drives available today can hold only 10 to 40 GB of data, a small fraction
of what holographic memory system can hold. Conventional memories use only the
surface to store the data. But holographic data storage systems use the volume
to store data. It has more advantages than conventional storage systems. It is
based on the principle of holography.
Pieter J. van Heerden first proposed the idea of holographic (three-dimensional)
storage in the early 1960s.
A hologramis a block or sheet
of photosensitive material which records the interference of two light sources.
To create a hologram, laser light is first split into two beams, a source beam
and a reference beam. The source beam is then manipulated and sent into the photosensitive
material. Once inside this material, it intersects the reference beam and the
resulting interference of laser light is recorded on the photosensitive material,
resulting in a hologram. Once a hologram is recorded, it can be viewed with only
the reference beam. The reference beam is projected into the hologram at the exact
angle it was projected during recording.
When this light hits the recorded diffraction
pattern, the source beam is regenerated out of the refracted light. An exact copy
of the source beam is sent out of the hologram and can be read by optical sensors.
Holography was invented in 1947 by the
Hungarian-British physicist Dennis Gabor (1900-1979), who won a 1971 Nobel Prize
for his invention m
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