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Progress made during the past years in the area of magnetooptic data storage by the computer industry has been most impressive. Many material media and physical phenomena have been developed for this particular application. It now appears that a large capacity ( bits) magnetooptic data store possessing major advantages over the conventional recording techniques could be developed. Of the many materials and techniques advanced to date, the use of thin films of MnBi for thermomagnetic writing, erasing, and magnetooptic reading has received particularly intensive study because of the many unique properties of this film medium. In order to provide an assessment of the potential of this medium for optical memory application, we have included in this review the pertinent material physical properties of MnBi; the memory characteristics in regard to read, write, and erase operation; the physical process involved in the writing and erasure by thermomagnetic technique; the technique for detection of written information; and the utilization of this medium for magnetic holographic storage. Emphasis is given to the material properties and physical phenomena, rather than the systems considerations in using MnBi films for optical memory.