The dream of Stanford University, Stanford, California of creating a holographic storage device with vast capacity and blindingly fast access time – just the thing for video on demand and interactive video (CI No 2,478) – has taken a step forward with formation of the $32m five-year Holographic Data Storage System programme to bring the thing to fruition. Half the money is coming from the US Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, and 12 participants, including IBM Corp, are putting up the rest. The project’s principal technical investigators are Lambertus Hesselink, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and Glenn Sincerbox, a scientist in the optical storage technology department at IBM’s Almaden Research Center. Carnegie-Mellon University, GTE Corp, IBM’s Watson Research Center, Eastman Kodak Co, Optitek Inc of Mountain View, Rochester Photonics Inc of Rochester, New York, Rockwell International Inc, SDL Inc, San Jose, and the Universities of Arizona Dayton are the other participants. Stanford has proven the technology for storing and reading, but data still takes forever to write. The partners aim to demonstrate separate write-once and rewritable systems with capacity of 1T-bits or more and a throughput rate of at least 1G-bits per second in a system no larger than a deck of cards. Elements to be developed include a high-capacity, high-bandwidth spatial light modulator for data input; optimised sensor arrays for data output; and a high-power red semiconductor laser.
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