Holograms - History of Holograms


Common to science fiction movies and literature, holograms continue to push the boundaries of light, imaging, and technology. A hologram is a three-dimensional image of a particular subject or object that is created by light. Generally, 3D holographic images can be viewed without the assistance of 3D glasses or other types of optical devices. Requiring the use of a laser and the formation of a light field, holograms allow for the visualization of an entire three-dimensional object created fully by light.

First created in the 1940s, the holographic method was originally proposed to use x-rays. Although practical for the development of advanced electron microscopes, the idea pioneered by physicist Dennis Gabor was not successful in the creation of the first optical hologram, as x-rays are not visible with the naked eye.

However, upon the development of the laser, visualization of 3D holograms became a reality in 1962. Yuri Denisyuk of the Soviet Union and Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks of the United States were the pioneers of this achievement, but their first holograms did not efficiently use the light energy. Their invention absorbed much of the light instead of projecting it, which resulted in holographic images that were blurry and dull. Advancements over the next few decades allowed for additional clarity and increased brightness of the projected images.

Today, numerous types of holograms are used in every day life unbeknownst to the users. One example of this is the rainbow transmission hologram, which takes advantage of reflective and illumination materials to project a small holographic image. This technique is commonly used to ensure credit card or banknote security authentication.

However, the most familiar hologram depiction is that of a Denisyuk hologram, which uses white-light to illuminate the visualization of the 3D holographic objects that can be projected onto a surface. Generally, these holograms depict stationary objects, but advancing technology is continually improving the ability to project and view moving and changing scenes.

Although far from the depictions present in science fiction media, today's holograms are advancing at a rapid pace. Useful in everyday security applications, holograms will continue to develop and assist in the creation of science fictions most creative holographic developments.

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