Because the data are stored and retrieved as a two-dimensional matrix, a volume holographic storage system is inherently parallel. Consequently, data is read many bits (conceivably in the range of megabits) at a time, so that this approach offers the potential of high data retrieval rates, on the order of tens of gigabits per second and access times of much less than a millisecond. Data recording speeds are very dependent on the choice of storage material and energy of the laser. System capacity and capability are a consequence of three major interrelated factors: (1) the time-energy requirement of the storage material and the permanence of the stored data; (2) the capacity and efficiency of the spatial light modulator; and (3) the laser’s power, physical size, and coherence properties. When compared with traditional flat surface magnetic or optical storage, volume holographic data storage has the potential of advantageous capacity, speed, weight, power, and physical size. While these are attractive attributes, they are particularly useful for space applications. This paper presents an assessment of the past, present, and future of holographic memories by consideration of the various developments since the initial concept of volume holographic data storage.
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W. P. Hinkle, "Review of volume holographic data storage," Proc. SPIE 10288, Advancement of Photonics for Space: A Critical Review, 102880C (29 July 1997);