Currently data access times are extremely slow for magnetic disks when compared to the speed of execution of CPUs so that any improvement in data access speeds will greatly increase the capabilities of computers, especially with large data and multimedia files. Holographic memory is a technology that uses a three dimensional medium to store data and it can access such data a page at a time instead of sequentially, which leads to increases in storage density and access speed. Holographic data storage systems are very close to becoming economically feasible. Obstacles that limit holographic memory are hologram decay over time and with repeated accesses, slow recording rates, and data transfer rates that need to be increased. Photorefractive crystals and photopolymers have been used successfully in experimental holographic data storage systems. Such systems exploit the optical properties of these photosensitive materials along with the behavior of laser light when it is used to record an image of an object. Holographic memory lies between main memory and magnetic disk in regards to data access times, data transfer rates, and data storage density
Holographic 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
When the blue-green argon laser is fired, a beam splitter creates two beams. One beam, called the object or signal beam, will go straight, bounce off one mirror and travel through a spatial-light modulator (SLM). An SLM is a Liquid crystal display (LCD) that shows pages of raw binary data as clear and dark boxes. The information from the page of binary code is carried by the signal beam around to the light-sensitive lithium-niobate crystal. Some systems use a photopolymer in place of the crystal. A second beam, called the reference beam, shoots out the side of the beam splitter and takes a separate path to the crystal. When the two beams meet, the interference pattern that is created stores the data carried by the signal beam in a specific area in the crystal -- the data is stored as a hologram
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