Abstract

The first analysis to our knowledge of the optical data storage density of photon-echo storage is presented. Mainly considering signal-to-noise ratio performance, we calculate the obtainable storage density for data storage and processing using photon echoes to be approximately 100 times the theoretical limit for conventional optical data storage. This limit is similar to that theoretically calculated for data storage by use of persistent spectral hole burning. For storage times longer than the upper-state lifetime the highest densities can, however, be obtained only if all the excited atoms decay, or are transferred, to a different state than that from which they were originally excited. The analysis is restricted to samples with low optical density, and it also assumes that for every data sequence, writing is performed only once. It is therefore not directly applicable to accumulated photon echoes. A significant feature of photon-echo storage and processing is its speed; e.g., addressing 1 kbyte/(spatial point) permits terahertz read and write speeds for transitions with transition probabilities as low as 1000 s−1.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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