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Thursday, March 7, 2013

What is meant by Holographic Data Storage?

Currently the conventional magnetic and optical data storage dominates the field of high – capacity data storage. But another technology called the holographic data storage holds the potential to lead this area. Now what is this technology? We shall discuss about it in this article. 

Difference between Conventional storage methods and Holographic Data Storage

- The conventional methods such as the optical storage and magnetic storage technologies depend up on the recording of the individual data bits on the distinct optical and magnetic on the medium’s surface. 
- In the holographic technology, the information is recorded throughout the medium’s volume.
- Multiple images can be recorded in the same medium area via utilization of the light at varying angles. 
- Further, in the conventional storage methods the recording takes place in a linear fashion whereas, 
- In holographic storage, millions of bits can be recorded and read in parallel thus increasing the rates of the data transfer more than what are offered by the conventional methods.

Features of Holographic Data Storage

Data Recording: 
- The information is stored in a thick photosensitive optical substance with the help of an optical interference pattern. 
- A laser beam is divided into two un-identical optical patterns (formed of light and dark pixels) and is projected towards the medium. 
- A multitude of holograms in one volume is recorded by making adjustments in the wavelength, reference beam angle, media position etc.

Data Reading: 
- For reading the stored data, the same reference beam is reproduced for the creation of the hologram. 
- This light beam is focused up on the photosensitive material that illuminates the interference pattern which leads to the diffraction of the light. 
- The pattern is then projected to the detector. 
- The data is then read in parallel at a rate more than that of millions. 
- This means high data transfer rate. 
- It takes less than 0.2 seconds for accessing the information from a holographic drive. 
- Holographic data storage has offered a solution to many companies for preserving and archiving the information. 
- The WORM (write – once, read many) approach provides assurance about the content security, risk of modification and overwriting of the information. 
- This technology provides hope for storage of data without degradation for 50 plus years which is quite more than the current options.
- However, if the same trend is followed, and it becomes possible to store data for 50 – 100 years in same format, that would still be irrelevant. 
- This is so because the format will be changing in less than 10 years.  

Types of Holographic Media

- Holographic media is of two types namely:
  1.  The re-writable media and
  2. The write once medium.
- In the former type, the changes can be reversed but in the latter can the changes are irreversible.

There is no point in the competition between the holographic storage and the hard drives since the former can find a market that is based up on the virtues like access speed. 
- The holographic data storage technology does seems to have a future in the video game market. 
In the year of 2009, the GE Global Research did came up with their own demonstration of the holographic storage medium that could stand the discs that had read mechanisms somewhat similar to that of the blu–ray disc players. 

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