Holographic technology is a concept which seems to be straight from science fiction the way it projects 3D light images. These projections may be used to display images from as 3D map of the city to schematics for an upcoming project. The science of creating holograms is known as holography and the secret behind this futuristic technology is light. The man who discovered the principles supporting holography was Physicists and Nobel Prize winner Dennis Gabor. During the 1940s Dennis Gabor conducted several holography experiments which, at the time, he called “wavefront reconstruction”. Early days of holographic technology may have been limited as Gabor resorted to using electrons to create imagery. However, modern holography seems to benefit from the use of lasers which may have propelled Gabor’s underlying approach into a new era of innovation.
The hologram seems to be based on principles seen in photography and in essence, a 3D photograph. A photograph aims to capture an image through light which has passed through a lens and onto a sensor. Modern Digital cameras typically contain a sensor known as a CCD, a charged coupled device, or a CMOS, complementary metal oxide semiconductor, which translates the captured light into a digital image. Where holograms differ seem to be the method which they capture an image. Holograms aim to capture additional image data by using a laser and splitting the beam to illuminate the subject from two different angles. The light reflected off the subject is captured on a holographic plate which is similar to an undeveloped strip of film.
In an attempt to assimilate holographic technology with modern electrical devices a team of researchers from an Australian-Chinese team led by RMIT University Professor Min Gu have created the world’s thinnest hologram. Professor Min Gu and his team claim the thickness of holograms have typically been limited to the optical wavelength scale, something which seems to have reduced integration with thin electronic devices. However, it seems the researchers were able to surpass this limit and achieve holograms 60 nm(nanometres) in size using topological insulator material, a material which seems to behave as an insulator while also having conducting states upon its surface. Professor Min Gu claims this newly invented nano-hologram is “1000 times thinner than a human hair”.
An advantage of this new nano-hologram seems to be the way users may observe holographic projections outside of 3D glasses requirements. This means consumers may potentially witness nano-holograms built into electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers or TV’s, in the future as they require additional peripherals necessary for operation. With this breakthrough in technology, the research team claim the next step for the technology seems to be the development of a new method to adapt holography for LCD screens.
Professor Gu states his team of researchers are “looking to create flexible and elastic thin films that could be used on a whole range of surfaces, opening up the horizons of holographic applications.” This achievement in holographic technology may grant electronic devices with advanced optical images and potentially many other uses. Professor Min Gu seems to understand the potential application of holographic technology as he states, “[the] nano-hologram is also fabricated using a simple and fast direct laser writing system, which makes [the] design suitable for large-scale uses and mass manufacture.” Since its inception in the 1940s, Holography seems to be gradually making its way toward integration with everyday devices and may potentially become a part of our daily lives.
How might this recent nano-hologram discovery expand the potential application of this emerging technology?