Unlike DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which store information on the surface of the disc, holographic storage technology uses the entire thickness of the disc material to write three-dimensional patterns that represent bits of information. GE says the breakthrough was achieved making several improvements to the materials used in its optical media, which in turn increases the amount of light that can be reflected by the holograms and enables the company to scale down the holograms to even smaller sizes.
Interestingly, the company claims that the hardware and formats are so similar to current optical storage technology that micro-holographic players will be backwards compatible with CDs, DVDs and BDs. The technology is still in the developmental phase at this point, and General Electric's first priority will be to target it to commercial markets like the electronic archiving industry, but consumer development will reportedly follow.
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