University of Utah engineers create brighter, full-color holograms that can be viewed with low light
Technology developed by a team of University of Utah electrical and computer engineers could make the holographic chess game R2-D2 and Chewbacca played in "Star Wars" a reality.
University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon shows off a new 2D hologram that can be displayed with just a flashlight. His team has discovered a way to create inexpensive full-color 2-D and 3-D holograms that are far more realistic, brighter and can be viewed at wider angles than current holograms.
Credit: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering
The team led by electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon has discovered a way to create inexpensive full-color 2-D and 3-D holograms that are far more realistic, brighter and can be viewed at wider angles than current holograms. The applications for this technology could be wide-ranging, from currency and identification badges to amusement rides and advertisements.
"You can have rich colors at high efficiency, with high brightness and at low cost. And you don't need fancy lasers and complicated optics," Menon says.
The team's technology was profiled in a new paper published July 19, 2017, in the current issue of Scientific Reports. The paper, "Full Color, Large Area, Transmissive Holograms Enabled by Multi-Level Diffractive Optics," was co-authored by University of Utah doctoral students Nabil Moham, Monjurul Meem and Xiaowen Wan.
Typically, the projection of any image, whether it is two or three dimensional, is inefficient because when white light shines on an object, we can only see the reflected color that bounces back to our eyes while the rest of the colors of the spectrum are absorbed. Therefore, there is a lot of wasted light. With a typical LCD projector, for example, you may only see as little as 5 percent of the total light at one time.
Menon and his team have discovered a better way that borrows from the same principle behind how wings of certain butterflies display their colors: Instead of reflecting only the colors you see while absorbing the rest, all of the white light is redirected so you see the wavelengths of the wing's colors at different locations. None of the light is absorbed and therefore wasted.
Using sophisticated algorithms and a new fabrication method, the engineers can create holograms that do the same thing -- redirect colors to appropriate locations -- instead of absorbing most of it to project much brighter photographic images either in 2-D or 3-D and with full, natural colors. Currently, full-color holograms require lasers to not only make them, but also to view them. Menon's holograms can be viewed with regular white light. Most importantly, these holograms can be viewed from any angle, and the image detail does not change, much like a real object.
"Projecting an image before was very inefficient, and you need a massive lamp," Menon says. "Here, you can just do it with just a piece of plastic and a flashlight. It's much simpler and more efficient this way."
Such technology could be used on currency notes with security holograms that produce more lifelike images. Currently, the holograms on some foreign currency or on credit cards look like shimmering monochromatic images, but Menon's holograms would be more like full-color photographs. It also could be used for identification badges, driver's licenses and security documents like passports in which an officer could use just a flashlight to authenticate it instead of a special light such as an infrared scanner. And these holograms could be inexpensive to manufacture because they can stamp out each sticker like a compact disc or DVD.
While Menon and his team have only produced 2-D still images with their technology so far, he said it wouldn't be difficult to take the next step to create full-color 3-D moving images similar to the holographic chess pieces in "Star Wars." Therefore, the holograms could be utilized in entertainment, such as for virtual reality headsets, for movie theaters that wouldn't require powerful projector lamps (and it could be an avenue for glasses-less 3-D movies) or for amusement rides that use high-tech special effects.
"Imagine going through a ride and you want a monster to jump out. This is a way to do that with much richer color, with higher efficiency and in a much more ubiquitous manner because it's so cheap," Menon says.
The technology can also be used to produce holographic photos or video for advertising for platforms like billboards or kiosks. Moving 3-D video could be possible in as little as two years, and his team is working toward that now, he said.
Menon launched a company called PointSpectrum that is researching this new technology and to commercialize its potential uses.
Vince Horiuchi | EurekAlert!
Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets
22.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes
Touchscreens go 3D with buttons that pulsate and vibrate under your fingertips
14.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
25.03.2019 | Life Sciences
25.03.2019 | Life Sciences
25.03.2019 | Life Sciences