The new "smart" holograms, which can detect changes in, for example, blood-glucose levels, should make self-diagnosis much simpler, cheaper and more reliable, write Chris Lowe and Cynthia Larbey in February’s Physics World.
A hologram is a recording of an optical interference pattern created when laser light shone on an object is made to overlap with a separate beam of light that does not pass through the object. When light is shone onto the interference pattern, a 3D image of the original object is recreated.
Traditional holograms, like those on your credit card, are stored on photo-sensitive materials and remain unchanged with time. Smart holograms, however, use materials called hydrogels that shrink or swell in response to local environmental conditions. Such holograms can therefore be used as sensors to detect chemical imbalances in potentially fatal situations.
Smart Holograms, a spin-out company from the Institute of Biotechnology at Cambridge University, has already developed a hand-held syringe to measure water content in aviation fuel tanks – necessary because aeroplane engines are liable to freeze mid-air if there is more than 30 parts water to million fuel.
The same ability to detect chemical imbalances could be used by diabetics to check their blood-sugar levels; by patients with kidney disorders to check on adrenaline levels; by security forces to detect chemicals like anthrax after a terrorist attack; or, less urgently but with wide applicability, by glazing firms to detect whether water has crept in between window panes, something that can cause long-term structural damage.
Since the Nobel-prize-winning physicist Dennis Gabor first unveiled their underlying principles, holograms have become widely used as authentication tags to deter copying, and on credit cards, passports, banknotes. They also underpin the technology of supermarket scanners and CD players.
As Chris Lowe and Cynthia Larbey write, “Visual images produced by smart holograms can be made to appear or disappear under appropriate chemical or biological stimuli which makes them ideal for use in Breathalysers, monitoring heart conditions and for various security and smart packaging systems.”
Charlie Wallace | alfa
Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time
17.10.2017 | University of Maryland
Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging
17.10.2017 | American Association for the Advancement of Science
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences