Applied Optics

Experimental evaluation of user capacity in holographic data-storage systems

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An experimental procedure for determining the relation between the number of stored holograms and the raw bit-error rate (BER) (the BER before error correction) of a holographic storage system is described. Compared with conventional recording schedules that equalize the diffraction efficiency, scheduling of recording exposures to achieve a uniform raw BER is shown to improve capacity. The experimentally obtained capacity versus the raw-BER scaling is used to study the effects of modulation and errorcorrection coding in holographic storage. The use of coding is shown to increase the number of holograms that can be stored; however, the redundancy associated with coding incurs a capacity cost per hologram. This trade-off is quantified, and an optimal working point for the overall system is identified. This procedure makes it possible to compare, under realistic conditions, system choices whose impact cannot be fully analyzed or simulated. Using LiNbO3 in the 90° geometry, we implement this capacityestimation procedure and compare several block-based modulation codes and thresholding techniques on the basis of total user capacity. © 1998 Optical Society of America.