University of Arizona optical scientists have broken a technological barrier by making three-dimensional holographic displays that can be erased and rewritten in a matter of minutes.
The holographic displays which are viewed without special eyewear are the first updatable three-dimensional displays with memory ever to be developed, making them ideal tools for medical, industrial and military applications that require "situational awareness."
"This is a new type of device, nothing like the tiny hologram of a dove on your credit card," UA optical sciences professor Nasser Peyghambarian said. "The hologram on your credit card is printed permanently. You cannot erase the image and replace it with an entirely new three-dimensional picture."
"Holography has been around for decades, but holographic displays are really one of the first practical applications of the technique," UA optical scientist Savas Tay said.
Dynamic hologram displays could be made into devices that help surgeons track progress during lengthy and complex brain surgeries, show airline or fighter pilots any hazards within their entire surrounding airspace, or give emergency response teams nearly real-time views of fast-changing flood or traffic problems, for example.
And no one yet knows where the advertising and entertainment industries will go with possible applications, Peyghambarian said. "Imagine that when you walk into the supermarket or department store, you could see a large, dynamic, three-dimensional product display," he said. It would be an attention-grabber.
Tay, Peyghambarian, their colleagues from the UA College of Optical Sciences and collaborators from Nitto Denko Technical Corp., which is an Oceanside, Calif., subsidiary of Nitto Denko, Japan, report on the research in the Feb. 7 issue of the journal Nature.
Their device basically consists of a special plastic film sandwiched between two pieces of glass, each coated wit
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University of Arizona