InPhase exceeds 500 Gbit/in2 data density in holographic media

Longmont (CO) - InPhase, which has promised to bring the first holographic disk drive to market later this year, has reached another milestone in the development of its storage media. The company more than doubled the storage density on its holographic disks within one year to 515 Gbit/in2 which should lead the way to DVD-sized media with well above 500 GB capacity.

With high definition audio and video around the corner, the capacity of Blu-ray and HD-DVD media isn't quite as stunning as the specifications may suggest. 50 GB Blu-ray disks - which can store about two HD movies - is simply just good enough, especially if we consider the fact that these disks aren't available yet. Organizations that need to store enormous amounts of data are likely to look elsewhere: While tape drives are likely remain the dominant solution for backing up data, holographic drives could soon become an option when data not only needs to be stored, but also instantly accessed.

About one year ago, InPhase announced a storage density of 200 Gbit/in2, which is about 50% more than the density of current 2.5" perpendicular hard drives. Today, the company announced that it has more than doubled the maximum density to 515 Gbit/in2. Data was recorded with a 407 nm blue laser in 1.5 mm holographic Tapestry media. In last year's demonstration, the company said it was able to record 1 million bits per page on a total of 252 pages per book. This year, InPhase hit 1.3 million bits per data page and 320 data pages per book (a collection of data pages is generally referred to as "book".)

According to the company, the recording architecture enables more holograms to be stored in the same volume of material by overlapping not only pages, but also books. Three tracks of overlapping books were written with a track pitch of 700 microns, InPhase said.

The company did not detail the total capacity of the Tapestry media when recorded in 515 Gbit/in2 density. However, InPhase mentioned that such a disk, which measures 5.25" in diameter, could hold 106 DVD movies. Assuming that InPhase hinted to a DVD movie size of 4.7 GB, the capacity of the demonstrated disk would be about 500 GB. We are currently waiting for InPhase to reply to our inquiry on the total capacity of the disk and we will update this article as soon as the company provides more specific information.

InPhase previously said that it will be releasing its first holographic disk drive as well as 300 GB holographic media later this year. The data transfer performance is expected to be about 20 MB/s, while the demo announced today topped 23 MB/s InPhase said. According to the company, the first generation of Tapestry media will be followed by a disk family ranging from 800 GB to 1.6 TB capacity.

There has been no recent information on the price of the holographic disk drive generation. In April of 2005, the company told us that the drives will be priced initially around $10,000. Media will cost around $100, we were told.

Related article:
Inphase promises 300 GByte holographic disc for 2006