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Project Brief

Open Competition 3 - Electronics and Photonics

Technologies for Advanced Holographic Data Storage

Create a prototype optical data storage device that proves the viability of using holographic 3D techniques--enabling parallel reading and writing of data with a 10 times faster rate than standard technologies--potentially helping the United States reclaim leadership in optical data storage.

Sponsor: InPhase Technologies, Inc.

2000 Pike Road
Longmont, CO 80501-6764
  • Project Performance Period: 10/1/2003 - 9/30/2005
  • Total project (est.): $5,716,501.00
  • Requested ATP funds: $2,769,159.00

In this two-year project, InPhase Technologies and Displaytech, Inc., propose to develop a holographic data storage (HDS) system that offers 10-fold improvements in removable storage capacity and data access speed as compared with removable magnetic drives and optical disks, today's media of choice for digital-data archiving and distribution. The system is expected to store 1 terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of data on a standard CD-sized disk, at about one tenth the cost of current technology. HDS technology uses two laser beams, one containing a page of data to be stored and the other a reference beam, which are then combined at the HDS disk in order to store the data. In this manner, stored sets of data pages can be retrieved with only one read-out laser beam. In addition to dramatic gains in speed and storage capacity, HDS technology also offers the potential for a 50-year archival lifetime without the expensive environmentally controlled storage required for magnetic tape. Also, the volume of physical space required for archiving data would be reduced substantially. The joint venture (JV) partners will pursue opportunities created by a new photopolymer developed by InPhase, which could be the answer to the long search for a suitable material for storing holograms. The JV team will build a prototype HDS drive that uses a 5.25-inch disk. Innovations include developing a new spatial light modulator with integrated beam conditioning micro-optics for the write head and developing reliable methods for storing several holograms in a single location to increase disk capacity. Technical challenges range from minimizing data-degrading "noise" and "crosstalk" resulting from the new multiplexing schemes to integrating component and subsystem technologies into a fully functioning HDS system prototype that meets superior performance goals. Researchers from the University of California at San Diego and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) will add their signal processing expertise to the effort. A successful project would help the United States strengthen its intellectual property position in optical recording technology where today foreign companies hold the eminent position. Altogether, foreign companies currently earn more than $1 billion annually in royalties for removable storage technologies. HDS could be an enabling technology for high-performance, three-dimensional imaging applications, as well as large image databases, such as those required for satellite imagery and for biometric identification initiatives launched to strengthen homeland security. ATP cost-sharing will help the joint venture reduce technical risk and attract additional support from private-sector sponsors.

For project information:
Liz Murphy, (720) 494-7465

Active Project Participants
  • Displaytech, Inc. (Longmont, CO)
    [Original, Active Member]

ATP Project Manager
Thomas Lettieri, (301) 975-3496

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