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Advancements in Holography Usher In Sci-Fi-Inspired Devices

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As holography quietly matures, new techniques have the potential to transform displays, imaging, and microscopy.

FAROOQ AHMED, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

The 1971 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to the Hungarian-British electrical engineer Dennis Gabor for inventing the field of holography. It wasn’t until six years later, however, that the discipline would gain widespread recognition. In 1977, the movie “Star Wars” arrived in U.S. theaters, and the robot R2-D2 projected Princess Leia Organa saying the memorable words, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” While Leia’s projection technically was not a hologram but a volumetric light-field display (a technique used to bring back to the stage deceased entertainers such as Elvis Presley and Tupac Shakur), three-dimensional holograms have been inextricably linked with a vision of the future. Current applications in holography are poised to usher it in.

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Photonics Spectra
Jan 2020
GLOSSARY
holography
The optical recording of the object wave formed by the resulting interference pattern of two mutually coherent component light beams. In the holographic process, a coherent beam first is split into two component beams, one of which irradiates the object, the second of which irradiates a recording medium. The diffraction or scattering of the first wave by the object forms the object wave that proceeds to and interferes with the second coherent beam, or reference wave at the medium. The resulting...
hologram
An interference pattern that is recorded on a high-resolution plate, the two interfering beams formed by a coherent beam from a laser and light scattered by an object. If after processing, the plate is viewed correctly by monochromatic light, a three-dimensional image of the object is seen.
wavefront
In considering a field of electromagnetic energy emanating from a source, the wavefront is a surface connecting all field points that are equidistant from the source.
artificial intelligence
The ability of a machine to perform certain complex functions normally associated with human intelligence, such as judgment, pattern recognition, understanding, learning, planning and problem solving.
holographyDennis GaborStar WarshologramObject-Based Mediawaveguidessmartphonesfemtosecond lasersvirtual realityaugumented realityARVRwavefrontTricorderStar TrekAkonia HolographicsXPrizeneural networksMicroscopyartificial intelligenceAIFeatures

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