Scientists squeeze 500GB onto DVD

German scientists use holographic storage to cram 500GB onto a DVD disc - and they're aiming for 1TB

Scientists have managed to squeeze 500GB of storage on to a single DVD-sized disc.

The Microholas Project - run in conjunction with the Institute of Optics and Optical Technologies at the Technical University of Berlin - aims to to double that capacity to 1 terabyte by 2010.

The high storage density is achieved using a technique called microholographic recording. This adds a third dimension to the physical disc media, creating holographic grids that can be used for the reading and writing of data.

"The implementation of microholography for digital data storage on a disc has the potential to become a major breakthrough in realising Terabyte optical storage," the Microholas Project claims. "The main advantage of the microholographic approach is that it takes bit-oriented storage to the third dimension: by using holographic multiplexing tracks can be overlapped in the same volume."

The Microholas disc far exceeds today's optical storage capacities. Dual layer Blu-ray discs currently top out at 50GB, whilst HD DVD has a maximum capacity of 30GB. However, both are expected to increase over time.

Yet, with both of the new disc formats currently embroiled in an expensive dog fight for supremacy, the Microholas project may have to offer more than vastly superior capacity to have any chance of commercial success.

You can find out more about the Microholas Project here

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