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About Holography
History of Holography
Holography dates from 1947, when British/Hungarian scientist Dennis Gabor developed the theory of holography while working to improve the resolution of an electron microscope. Gabor, who characterized his work as "an experiment in serendipity" that was "begun too soon," coined the term hologram from the Greek words holos, meaning "whole," and gramma, meaning "message." (see Gabor's autobiography)

Gabor's first paper on holography evoked immediate response from scientists worldwide. Among those who made important contributions to the development of the technique were G.L. Rogers, A.B. Baez, H. El-Sum, P. Kirkpatrick and M.E. Haine. In these early years, the mercury arc lamp was the most coherent light source available for making holograms. Because of the low coherency of this light, it was not possible to produce holograms of any depth, thus restricting research. Despite equipment limitations, these researchers identified many of the properties of holography and further elaborated on Gabor's theory. Most important, they extended their understanding of the process and its potential to another generation of scientists.

Gabor's holography was limited to film transparencies using a mercury arc lamp as the light source. His holograms contained distortions and an extraneous twin image. Further development in the field was stymied during the next decade because light sources available at the time were not truly "coherent" (monochromatic or one-color, from a single point, and of a single wavelength).

Dr. Dennis Gabor signs a copy of the Museum of Holography's inaugural exhibition catalogue, "Through The Looking Glass," during his historic visit to the museum on March 17, 1977. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot)

This barrier was overcome in 1960 with the invention of the laser, whose pure, intense light was ideal for making holograms. For the next ten years, holography techniques and applications mushroomed.

In 1962 Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks of the University of Michigan recognized from their work in side-reading radar that holography could be used as a 3-D visual medium. In 1962 they read Gabor's paper and "simply out of curiosity" decided to duplicate Gabor's technique using the laser and an "off-axis" technique borrowed from their work in the development of side-reading radar. The result was the first laser transmission hologram of 3-D objects (a toy train and bird). These transmission holograms produced images with clarity and realistic depth but required laser light to view the holographic image.

"Train and Bird" is the first hologram ever made with a laser using the off-axis technique. This pioneer image was produced in 1964 by Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks at the University of Michigan only four years after the invention of the laser

Their pioneering work led to standardization of the equipment used to make holograms. Today, thousands of laboratories and studios possess the necessary equipment: a continuous wave laser, optical devices (lens, mirrors and beam splitters) for directing laser light, a film holder and an isolation table on which exposures are made. Stability is absolutely essential because movement as small as a quarter wave- length of light during exposures of a few minutes or even seconds can completely spoil a hologram. The basic off-axis technique that Leith and Upatnieks developed is still the staple of holographic methodology.

Leith and Upatnieks preparing to shoot a laser transmission hologram using the "off-axis" technique borrowed from their work in the development of side-reading radar. (Photo by Fritz Goro for Life Magazine, 1967)

Also in 1962 Dr. Yuri N. Denisyuk of the U.S.S.R. combined holography with 1908 Nobel Laureate Gabriel Lippmann's work in natural color photography. Denisyuk's approach produced a white-light reflection hologram which, for the first time, could be viewed in light from an ordinary incandescent light bulb.

Russian scientist Yuri N. Denisyuk, State Optical Institute in Leningrad, USSR, signing a copy of his book, Fundamentals of Holography. (Photo by Dr. Stephen Benton, 1979)

Once Denisyuk's work became known in the US, three teams of workers set out to take the off-axis recording technique used in laser transmission holography and apply it to reflection holography. These researchers were: E. Leith, J. Upatnieks, A. Kozma, J. Marks and N. Massey (University of Michigan); G. Stroke, A. Labeyrie (University of Michigan) with K. Pennington and L. Lin (Bell Labs); and C. Schwartz and N. Hartmann (Batelle Memorial Institute). By the Fall of 1965, each group had successfully recorded off-axis reflection holograms within months of each other. The U.S. patent for the process was issued to Hartmann, and marked a further advance for holography as a display medium.

In 1960 the pulsed-ruby laser was developed by Dr. T.H. Maimam of the Hughes Aircraft Corporation. This laser system (unlike the continuous wave laser normally used in holography) emits a very powerful burst of light that lasts only a few nanoseconds (a billionth of a second). It effectively freezes movement and makes it possible to produce holograms of high-speed events, such as a bullet in flight, and of living subjects, paving the way for a specialized application of holography: pulsed holographic portraiture.

Dennis Gabor, inventor of holography, stands beside his 18"x24" laser transmission, pulsed portrait. The historic portrait was recorded in 1971 by R. Rinehart, McDonnell Douglas Electronics Company, St. Charles, MO to commemorate Gabor's winning of the Nobel Prize that year.

In 1965 Robert Powell and Karl Stetson published the first paper on holographic interferometry. With this technique, small distortions between two holographic exposures of the same object -- one at rest and the other under stress -- are displayed as contours on the image. Holographic interferograms are useful in non-destructive testing of materials, fluid flow analysis and quality control.

A 5x4" double exposed interferogram of aircraft tires produced by R. Grant, GCO Inc.circa 1969. This technique provides a method of non-destructive analysis that determines structural deformations in objects. Two superimposed exposures of a tire at two stages of inflation reveal separations between the four plys of the tire.(Photo by R. Grant, GCO International, and Newport Corporation)

Shankoff and Pennington developed the use of a dichromated gelatin as a holographic recording medium in 1967. This made it possible to record a hologram on any clear, non-porous surface. From 1975 - 1984, Rich Rallison (International Dichromate Corp., Draper, UT) pioneered the use of dichromate holograms that were used as jewelry pendants and other premium items. This type of holography has been best used for high performance diffractive optics.

By the late 1960s, holography was still largely confined to the laboratory. Its first tentative steps outside the scientific community took the form of magazine articles and public displays of holograms. Scientific American and National Geographic carried feature stories.

The 1967 World Book Encyclopedia Science Yearbook contained what is arguably the first mass-distributed hologram, a 4"x3" transmission view of chess pieces on a board. An article describing the production of the hologram and basic information about the history of holography accompanied it. A .05 watt He-Ne laser was used on a nine-ton granite table in a 30-second exposure to make the original from which all the copies were produced.

That same year, Editions Inc., an Ann Arbor (Michigan) gallery, operated by Lloyd Cross, Peter Van Riper and Jerry Pethick, began exhibiting holograms. It was the first public access to the medium and the only showcase for creative holography at this time.

Also in 1967, Larry Siebert of the Conductron Corporation used a pulsed laser that he designed to make the first hologram of a person. The Conductron Corporation (later acquired by McDonnell Douglas Electronics Corporation) played an important role in the early days of commercial display holography. Their mass production and large plate capabilities serviced a tentative but potentially large market. Their gang-printed reflection holograms provided burgeoning marketing organizations with an exciting new promotional tool. Their large 18 x 24 inch plates made unusual trade show displays. The trend continued for several years until the recession in the early 1970s forced the company to close the pulsed laser facility.

A major advance in display holography occurred in 1968 when Dr. Stephen A. Benton invented white-light transmission holography while researching holographic television at Polaroid Research Laboratories. This type of hologram can be viewed in ordinary white light creating a "rainbow" image from the seven colors which make up white light. The depth and brilliance of the image and its rainbow spectrum soon attracted artists who adapted this technique to their work and brought holography further into public awareness.

Dr. Stephen A. Benton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, seen through "Crystal Beginning," a white light transmission hologram produced at the Polaroid Corporation in 1977.(Photo by Michael Lutch for WGBH, Boston)

Benton's invention is particularly significant because it made possible mass production of holograms using an embossing technique. With this technique, developed by Michael Foster in 1974 and brought to commercial viability by Steve McGreww in 1979, holographic information is transferred from light sensitive glass plates to nickel embossing shims. The holographic images are "printed" by stamping the interference pattern onto plastic. The resulting hologram can be duplicated millions of times for a few cents apiece. Consequently, embossed holograms are now being used by the publishing, advertising, banking and security industries.

The first holographic art exhibition was held at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1968. The second took place at the Finch College gallery in New York in 1970 and attracted national media attention.

During the same year, Lloyd Cross, a physicist, and Canadian sculptor Gerry Pethick developed a sand-table system for making holograms that did not require expensive laboratory optics and an isolation table for stability during exposures. Optical components were stabilized by using PVC plumbing pipes inserted into sand. This revolutionized the medium by making it accessible by artists.

Photograph of "Rainbow Spaceman," a white-light transmission hologram produced in 1973 by Gerry Pethick on the innovative "Sandbox" isolation table that he developed with Lloyd Cross. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 1977)

Cross and his associates started the San Francisco School of Holography in 1971, the first such place for artists and scientists to learn the new medium.

Click on the playbar above to hear the 1971 radio interview of Cross and Pethick describing their involvment in the School of Holography in San Francisco (30 seconds of tone preceeds the interview)

Artists pioneering in the pulsed holography field during this time included Bruce Nauman, Carl Frederick Reutersward and Peter Nicholson. Nauman exhibited in the USA several self-portraits (Making Faces) using the pulsed laser at Conductron. These are the earliest known holograms by a recognized artist. Margaret Benyon (UK) became the first woman to use holography as an art medium

In 1970 Reutersward exhibited pulsed works that were produced with Hans Bjelkhagen. Nick Phillips began producing large format (1 meter x 1 meter) pulsed transmission holograms at the University of Loughborough (UK).

In 1971 Dr. Dennis Gabor was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of holography in 1947.

In 1972 Lloyd Cross developed the integral hologram by combining white-light transmission holography with conventional cinematography to produce moving 3-dimensional images. Sequential frames of 2-D motion-picture footage of a rotating subject are recorded on holographic film. When viewed, the composite images are synthesized by the human brain as a 3-D image.

This is a series of photographs taken of "Kiss II" (1974), an integral hologram produced by Lloyd Cross, inventor of the process. The hologram -- which was made from approximately 360 frames of motion picture footage -- was typically mounted in a semi-circular, wall-mounted display and illuminated by a single light bulb below. The floating, 3-dimensional image of Pam Brazier blows a kiss and winks as the viewer walks by. (Photo by Daniel Quat, 1977)

Later, Cross founded The Multiplex Company that produced hundreds of images using his holographic stereogram technique. For more information about the beginning of The Multiplex Company, read PDF The Story of Multiplex, a rough draft by Lloyd Cross. The draft was provided by Ambjörn Naeve, who describes visits to Multiplex in 1976 at Point Focus.

Lloyd Cross combined holography with cinematography to produce moving images (holographic stereogram). (Photo by Rosemary H. Jackson, 1978)

That same year, Benton modified his white light transmission technique to make black and white (achromatic) images.

This is a photograph of the first black and white hologram, Pum II. The portrait of a mummy's skull was made as part of a Smithsonian Institute program to provide 3D copies of valuable artifacts in danger of decay. The hologram was produced by Will Walter and Stephen Benton at The Polaroid Corporation in 1976.

Also in 1972, Tung Jeong began to offer summer workshops for non-physicists in holography at Lake Forest College (Illinois). Intended to instruct educators on how to teach holography, the course also attracted student who saw in holography a new medium for expression.

Tung Jeong ("TJ") is well known for his excellent workshops and conferences that brought together scientists, artists and business people that were involved in the medium from all over the world. (Photo: Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp., 1972) See PDFProfile of Tung Jeong

The Quaker Oats Company offered in its King Vitaman Cereal an in-pack promotion "The King's Ring" -- a 1 1/4" diameter mass produced reflection hologram mounted in a plastic setting. The hologram was produced in 1972 by Cecile Ruchin and Selwyn Lissack, Holographic Communications Corporation of America (New York) and the McDonnell Douglas Electronics Company (St. Louis).

Artist Salvador Dali gave holography further recognition by exhibiting holograms of his design at the Knoedler Gallery in New York.

18" x 24" laser transmission hologram, "Hand in Jewels," produced in 1972 by Robert Schinella and the McDonnell Douglas Electronics Company, St. Louis, MO for Cartier, Inc., New York. The hologram appeared in Cartier's window on Fifth Avenue, projecting the hand out over the sidewalk to the astonishment of passers by.

Three years later, the International Center of Photography in New York City featured Holography '75: The First Decade, produced by Jody Burns and Posy Jackson. It represented the work of artists and scientists from six countries.

From 1975 - 1984, Rich Rallison (International Dichromate Corp., Draper, UT) pioneered the production of glass sandwich dichromate holograms that were used as jewelry pendants, key chains, paper weights, and other premium items.
Rich Rallison
Rich Rallison recalls his experiences with Steve Benton at the Benton Vision Symposium, November, 2003. Benton appears to reach out from a full color, white-light transmission hologram in the background.(Photo: Paul D. Barefoot, 2003)

While limited exhibition and productive work by scattered individuals proceeded slowly in the Western countries (mainly the United States, Germany, and Sweden), the Soviet Union rapidly pushed ahead research and production. It gave priority status to artists and scientists to work in elaborate state-financed laboratories. New developments were made in holographic movies and film emulsions.

In 1976 Victor Komar and his colleagues at the All-Union Cinema and Photographic Research Institute (NIFKI), U.S.S.R., developed a prototype for a projected holographic movie. Images were recorded with a pulsed holographic camera at about 20 frames per second. The developed film was projected onto a holographic screen that focused the dimensional image out to several points in the audience. Two or three people could see a 47 second movie in full dimension without glasses. Kormar's plan to scale up the process for a 20 to 30 minute film for an audience of 200 - 300 people never materialized.

The Museum of Holography was founded in 1976 in New York City as an international center for the understanding and advancement of this new medium.

Museum of Holography at 11 Mercer Street. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 1977)

Lead by founder Rosemary H. Jackson, it served as the focal point for the art, science and technology, as well as the world's foremost holography exhibitor.

Posy Jackson, Director of the Museum of Holography, with Dr. Dennis Gabor during his visit to the Museum in March, 1977. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 1977)

One year later, the museum opened its Portrait Gallery of Famous New Yorkers (Hol-o-fame) with Martin E. Segal, NY Commission of Cultural Affairs noting, "We congratulate the Museum. I can't think of anything that has happened in New York in the arts in the last four years that is more symbolic of this great city than this innovative, new, imaginative and enduring art form."

Tom Brokow (NBC Today) and Mitch Rosenthal (Phoenix House) greet fellow "Holo-famer" William F. Buckley, Jr. at the opening of the "Holographic Portrait Gallery of Famous New Yorkers," Museum of Holography, New York. (Photo by Gordon Baker, 1977)

Also in 1977, the Museum of Holography's traveling exhibition, "Through the Looking Glass" (based on its inaugural exhibition of the same name), opened in Toronto. For over 10 years, the traveling show visited art museums and galleries, children's museums and science & technology centers in the US and abroad.

Holography pioneers Emmett Leith (r) and Juris Upatnieks were among the 30,000 visitors to "Through the Looking Glass" when it visited Detroit. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 1977)

In 1983 MasterCard International, Inc. became the first to use hologram technology in bank card security.

The first credit cards to carry embossed holograms were produced by American Bank Note Company, New York, for MasterCard International, Inc. The 2-channel holograms were the widest distribution of holography in the world at that time.

National Geographic magazine was the first major publication to put a hologram on its cover. The March 1984 issue carried nearly 11 million holograms throughout the world.

Volume 165, Number 3, March 1984 had the first hot stamped hologram embossed directly onto a magazine cover, with an accompanying story, "The Wonder of Holography." The 2 1/2" x 4" embossed hologram of an eagle was produced in 1983 by Kenneth A. Haines, Eidetic Images, Inc. Elmsford, NY, a subsidiary of American Bank Note Company, New York, NY. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 1999)

In November 1985 another cover hologram illustrated the feature article, "The Search for Early Man."

The December 1988 National Geographic magazine featured the most ambitious hologram ever published in a large-circulation magazine. The entire cover was holographic: a globe on the front cover, 3-D type on the spine, and an advertisement on the back. The front-cover hologram was made using a pulsed laser with an exposure of about seven-billionths of a second.

Production of the December 1988 National Geographic cover was a trip worthy of the Society itself:

Editor Wilbur Garrett decided in November 1987 to use a full-page hologram on the centennial issue. William W. Smith, director of engraving and printing, had to figure out how. At 28 cents a copy to produce (vs. 2 1/2 cents for a regular four- page cover). the hologram cover costs "had to be incorporated into our long-range budget," Smith explains. As the design evolved, it became a double laser image of the earth -- one whole and one exploding -- to represent the fragile nature of our planet. Photographer Bruce Dale spent three months holographing more than 200 glass and three lead crystal globes shattered by bullets fired with an electronic trigger as the globe automatically dropped. A computer program calculated the speeds of the drop, the bullet and the impact. A green pulsed laser, at Quantel Lab in Santa Clara, CA, captured the shattering globe with exposures of billionths of a second.

American Bank Note Holographics, in Elmsford, NY, embossed the holograms onto a plastic roll and transferred them to a 30-inch wide roll of special aluminum foil in Newburyport, MA. At Manville Forest Products in Monroe, LA the foil was laminated roll-to-roll to the magazine's regular 90# cover stock and covered with a scratch-resistant coating. The top coat also gave the cover its gold tint. On the hot- stamping press, the actual holographic image was limited to about 20 square inches due to the physical limitations of today's stamping presses.

Then, the covers, which were produced as four-up repeats on the roll, traveled on to Hawkinsville, GA, where the foil-laminated rolls were chopped into sheets for printing. Peake Printers in Cheverly, MD and American Printers & Lithographers, Chicago, printed the inside covers. Krueger Ringier, in Corinth MS, printed the inside pages, bound the covers and pages together and shipped the magazines to subscribers. (National Geographic Magazine)

Another method for the mass-production of holograms -- the photo polymer -- was developed by The Polaroid Corporation and, later, by Dupont. Unlike "embossed" holograms (which are, in fact, transmission holograms with a mirror backing), the photo polymer hologram is a reflection hologram that produces very bright images. This type hologram has been used successfully in advertising, direct mail, product packaging and point-of-sale displays. It has also been used effectively as holographic portraitures.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel included this 8x9 inch "Mirage" hologram in its 1992 book, "The Weizmann Institute of Science: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow." It was the largest commercial hologram ever produced by the Polaroid Corporation using their photo polymer process. (Hologram produced by Holophile, Inc.; Photo by Paul D. Barefoot)

In March 1992, the Museum of Holography in New York closed. In January of 1993 the MIT Museum, Cambridge, MA, acquired the complete holdings of the Museum of Holography, which included the largest and most complete collection of holograms in the world. The collection contains early pieces from the inception of the medium through its artistic and technical evolution, and highlights works by some the world's foremost holographers, including Margaret Benyon, Rudie Berkhout, Harriet Casdin-Silver, Mesissa Crenshaw, Paula Dawson, Setsuko Ishii, John Kaufman, Sam Moree, Ana Maria Nicholson, John Perry, Martin Richardson and Dan Schweitzer.

"Perpetual Notion" (1979) by Dan Schweitzer, White-light transmission hologram, edition of 6.

Holographic artists have greatly increased their technical knowledge of the discipline and now contribute to the technology as well as the creative process. Artists that are not holographers, such as Salvador Dali, Bruce Naumann, Amy Greenfield, Yaacov Agam and Carl Frederick Reutersward, have commissioned holograms based on themes expressed in their other media. Scientists, such as Stephen Benton, Lloyd Cross, Nick Phillips, and John Webster have also advanced the technology through their art. The art form has become international, with major exhibitions being held throughout the world.

The Israel Museum's opening night for the Museum of Holography's traveling exhibition, Through the Looking Glass, during the Summer of 1981. Over 300,000 visitors saw the show during its 11-week stay, breaking the Israel Museum's attendance records. "Tachlil" (holography) became the newest addition to the Hebrew lexicon when the word was chosen in an official contest inspired by the exhibition. (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 1981)

An outside banner heralds the opening of "The Nature of Holography" exhibition at the San Bernardino County Museum (CA). (Photo by Paul D. Barefoot, 2000)

In Memorium: the Pioneers in Holography

On November 9, 2003, Stephen A. Benton, (see about Steve Benton) inventor of the white-light transmission hologram (rainbow hologram) died. Two days later, 260 friends and colleagues gathered for Benton Vision, a symposium held at the MIT Media Labratory in Cambridge, MA to celebrate his many outstanding contributions to the field of holography, to MIT, and to the arts.


Emmett Leith      Nick Phillips
Emmett N. Leith (University of Michigan), Yuri N. Denisyuk (Ioffe Institute, RAN, Russia) and Nicholas J. Phillips (De Montfort University, UK) were among those who attended the Benton Vision symposium (November 11, 2003) and spoke of the accomplishments and contributions of Stephen Benton. (Photos by Paul D. Barefoot)

On December 23, 2005, Emmett N. Leith died at the age of 78(see about Emmett Leith).

On May 14, 2006, Yuri Denisyuk died in St. Petersburg, Russia.(see In memorian: Yuri Denisyuk 1927-2006).

On May 23, 2009, Nicholas J. Phillips died in St. Petersburg, Russia.(see In memorian: Nicholas J. Pillips).

On September 18, 2010, Rich Rallison died at the age of 65. Rallison pioneered the production of glass sandwich dichromate holograms that were used as jewelry pendants and other premium items in the 70s amd 80s.

"Holography, like most technologies and all art forms, is a true craft. It is still in the process of becoming. Sometimes imagery which is meaningful, appropriate or effective is abandoned for what is possible, easy and available. This is changing as we learn to create, rather than merely copy, as technology catches up with imagination. The promise that holography holds is beginning to be fulfilled by artists who see in the medium a new way to express themselves through pure light and color. The elegance and sophistication of their imagery and their creative use of the techniques, belie any notion that holography is too young for 'real art'. Holography has simply become their new paint brush, a unique conduit for age-old creative expression."
Rosemary H. Jackson, Founder of the Museum of Holography, 1976

Applications of Holography
A hologram can be made not only with the light waves of a laser, but also with sound waves and other waves in the electro-magnetic spectrum. Holograms made with X-rays or ultraviolet light can record images of particles smaller than visible light, such as atoms or molecules. Microwave holography detects images deep in space by recording the radio waves they emit. Acoustical holography uses sound waves to "see through" solid objects.

Holography's unique ability to record and reconstruct both light and sound waves makes it a valuable tool for industry, science, business, and education. The following are some applications:

Double-exposed holograms (holographic interferometry) provide researchers with crucial heat-transfer data for the safe design of containers used to transport or store nuclear materials.

A telephone credit card used in Europe has embossed surface holograms which carry a monetary value. When the card is inserted into the telephone, a card reader discerns the amount due and deducts (erases) the appropriate amount to cover the cost of the call.

Supermarket scanners read the bar codes on merchandise for the store's computer by using a holographic lens system to direct laser light onto the product labels during checkout.

Holography is used to depict the shock wave made by air foils to locate the areas of highest stress. These holograms are used to improve the design of aircraft wings and turbine blades.

A holographic lens is used in an aircraft "heads-up display" to allow a fighter pilot to see critical cockpit instruments while looking straight ahead through the windscreen. Similar systems are being researched by several automobile manufactures.

Magical, totally unique and lots of fun --candy holograms are the ultimate snack technology. Chocolates and lollipops have been transformed into holographic works of art by molding the candy's surface into tiny, prism-like ridges. When light strikes the ridges, it is broken into a rainbow of brilliant iridescent colors that display 3-D images.

Researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville are developing the sub- systems of a computerized holographic display. While the work focuses on providing control panels for remote driving, training simulators and command and control presentations, researchers believe that TV sets with 3-D images might be available for as little as $5,000 within the next ten years.

Holography is ideal for archival recording of valuables or fragile museum artifacts.

The form of a 2300-year-old Iron Age man unearthed from Lindow Moss, a peat bog in Cheshire, England, was recorded by a pulsed laser hologram for study by researchers.

A reconstruction model of the "Lindow Man" was made by the Forensic Science Department of Scotland Yard

Scientists at Polaroid Corp. have developed a holographic reflector that promises to make color LCDs whiter and brighter. The secret lies in a transmission hologram that sits behind an LCD and reflects ambient light to produce a white background.

The arrival of the first prototypical optical computers, which use holograms as storage material for data, could have a dramatic impact on the overall holography market. The yet-to-be-unveiled optical computers will be able to deliver trillions of bits of information faster than the current generation of computers.

Independent projects at IBM and at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have demonstrated the use of holograms to locate and retrieve information without knowing its address in a storage medium, but by knowing some of its content.

To better understand marine phytoplankton, researchers have developed an undersea holographic camera that generates in-line and off-axis holograms of the organisms. A computer controlled stage moves either a video camera or a microscope through the images, and the organisms can be measured as they were in their undersea environment

Sony Electronics uses a hologram in its digital cameras. A Sony-exclusive laser focusing system achieves accurate focus on subjects with little contrast in dark conditions. It projects a visible Class 1 laser hologram pattern directly onto the subject so the camera can detect the contrast between the edge of the laser pattern and the subject itself.

Scientific American reports that scientists have developed a new tool for fighting forgers. The hologram-based technique produces a three-dimensional image of a handwriting sample that can be used to compare two John Hancocks and determine if they were both jotted by the same John.

Facial surgery and forensic science are benefiting from a portable holography system that can capture the shape and texture of faces in an instant. Following chemical development, the hologram is digitized to create a three dimensional computer model that is an exact replica of the patient’s face. The model is then used to aid surgical planning or forensic science investigations.

Imagine being able to record 100 movies on a disk the size of a CD - - or one day recording the contents of the Library of Congress on such a disk. These are the promises of holographic data storage.(Bell Labs)

The Air Force Scientific Research Office has taken the wraps off a research project that uses holography to create high-definition, 3-D images. Fixed holographic storage materials are replaced with low-cost, heigh efficiency dynamic ones. Complete scenes or objects are recorded within three minutes and stored for three hours.

An updatable holographic 3D display has been developed at College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. It is based on photorefractive polymers capable of recording and displaying new images every few minutes. This is the largest photorefractive 3D display to date (4 times 4 inches in size); it can be recorded within a few minutes, viewed for several hours without the need for refreshing, and can be completely erased and updated with new images when desired.

General Electric is working on a holographic storage medium that resembles a typical optical disc and allows it to store the equivalent of 100 DVDs. Holography, used for the three-dimensional images on some older credit cards for security, can also store binary data in the form of 1s and 0s.

A unique holographic teaching resource which captures mouth shapes in 3D has been developed by experts at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester and could become a vital tool for speech therapists.

While holography is often associated with artistic 3D images, it can also be used for many other purposes. In a new study, scientists have created holograms of atoms using laser-driven electron motion, which could lead to a new type of ultra-fast photoelectron spectroscopy. In the future, this type of holography could enable scientists to study the structures of molecules in a more direct way than before. (PhysOrg.com)

A new technique uses ordinary white light instead of a laser to make three-dimensional color holograms that can be viewed at any angle, something that could prove useful in the next generation of 3-D displays, Japanese researchers report. The method differs from conventional techniques because it's based on the activity of electrons on the surface of a metal film, or surface plasmons. The result is multicolored holograms, the colors of which stay the same when viewed from any angle, just like the original object.

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