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11/04/94

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Stanford professor recognized for holographic data storage

STANFORD -- Lambertus Hesselink, professor of aeronautics and astronautics, has won the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency¹s annual Award for Significant Technical Achievement.

ARPA director Gary Denman announced the award Oct. 25 in recognition of Hesselink's demonstration of the first fully automated digital holographic data-storage system.

Hesselink, a member of Stanford's Center for Nonlinear Optical Materials Research, used off-the-shelf laboratory equipment to make a working version of a system that data-storage engineers have envisioned for years, using lasers to store and retrieve digital data as holograms. The system, described in the Aug. 5 issue of Science, stores color images, sound, compressed video and other digital data in the lattices of a crystal.

Future holographic systems may be able to store and retrieve trillions of bytes of data rapidly enough to be the basis for high-speed computing and for consumer services that depend on large amounts of data. An example is video on demand, where consumers would order individual videos delivered from a central source by optical cable.

"The demonstration showed how a university research effort guided by an important application can lead to a wholly new system with capabilities far exceeding those of current storage devices," Denman said in presenting the award.

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