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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 Agency's 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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