As described in Table 7.1, several emerging technologies are well placed to capture new markets from conventional storage technologies by the second half of the next decade.

Table 7.1
Emerging Technologies and Applications




Structured magnetic media

SIL lens near-field MO disks

General purpose, computing

200 GB, ms access

Volumetric disks

Advanced video, removable

200 GB-1 TB, 1 Gb/s data rate

Thermo-mechanical probe (disks)


1 TB and more, Mb/s data rate

Probe storage (chips)

Portable video applications

10 GB, ms access, 100 Mb/s

For the longer term and significant gain in market share, removable volumetric parallel accessible storage systems such as holographic and/or two-photon approaches appear attractive. The key issue for holographic storage is the development of an inexpensive, reliable write-once material. Two-photon recording can benefit from the development of a higher sensitivity write-once material and preferably from an erasable material. These technologies are especially important since they can drive the low-cost manufacturing of optoelectronic and MEMS device arrays that can be critical for many other applications areas.

Probe storage is clearly an important area for future investment, particularly for very small or very low power storage devices. It has the potential of capturing a new market segment, that of portable digital video equipment.

Japan seems to be clearly ahead in developing metrology, mastering and replication technologies. The United States must invest in these critical areas since they serve many other manufacturing areas as well.

Micro-machining can find a high-volume application in the disk drive industry and probe storage. The United States has a slight lead in research, but a high-volume application and the investment it draws could quickly evaporate that lead. Japan can easily take the lead in micro-machining away from the United States with its process development strength.

Published: June 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian