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Japan's Optware advances holographic disc storage

A Japanese company has achieved the world's first reliable recording and playback of digital movies on a transparent holographic recording disc.

Optware plans to offer reader/writer players and 200Gbyte holographic versatile discs (HVD) in 2006 for enterprise users.

Much less expensive consumer versions could be on the market by 2007, said Yasuhide Kageyama, manager of business development and marketing at Optware.

The company has developed a collinear holographic data storage system that uses a green 532 nanometer laser to read holographic data on a 12-centimetre disc.

Light from the laser is split into two beams. Data to be recorded is encoded onto one of the beams while the other beam is used as a reference. The two beams interfere with each other inside the disc's recording layer and in this way data is stored.

Below the recording layer is a pre-formatted layer that stores servo data and is read by a red laser. This enables accurate tracking of the disc.

Between the data layer and servo layer is a mirror layer, which reflects the green laser but is transparent to the red laser. It is this mirror layer that is the secret to HVD, said Kageyama, because it stops the scattering of light within the disc that could cause noise and deteriorate the signal quality.

The company is initially planning to use the technology for enterprise applications. Drives for this market will cost about $20,000 (£11,075) and initially use 200Gbyte HVDs, with a target cost of about $100 per disc.

Drives for home users will cost about $2,700, about the same as commercially available Blu-ray Disc players now.

Paul Kallender writes for IDG News Service


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