A tiny new device can create high quality holograms
Researchers from the Australian National University have created a new device which creates the highest quality holographic images ever achieved. Lead researcher Lei Wang said that his team has created complex holographic images in infrared with their invention. Their results were recently published in the journal Optica and could be a stepping stone to the kind of sci-fi displays we see in films like Star Wars.
“As a child, I learned about the concept of holographic imaging from the Star Wars movies. It’s really cool to be working on an invention that uses the principles of holography depicted in those movies,” said Mr Wang, a PhD student at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering. “While research in holography plays an important role in the development of futuristic displays and augmented reality devices, today we are working on many other applications such as ultra-thin and light-weight optical devices for cameras and satellites.”
One of the advantages of the new device is its tiny size. Co-lead researcher Dr Sergey Kruk said the device consisted of millions of tiny silicon pillars, each up to 500 times thinner than a human hair. This could help reduce the size and weight of bulky components used in e.g. cameras and thus save costs, for example in space missions, where every kilo transported to orbit means spending thousands of dollars in rocket fuel.
“This new material is transparent, which means it loses minimal energy from the light, and it also does complex manipulations with light,” said Dr Kruk, “Our ability to structure materials at the nanoscale allows the device to achieve new optical properties that go beyond the properties of natural materials. The holograms that we made demonstrate the strong potential of this technology to be used in a range of applications.”
Check out a video about the new technology below: