Researchers from Australia’s RMIT University and the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) have created the world’s thinnest hologram which is just 25 nanometers wide.
The Australian-Chinese research team contend that this could lead to the integration of 3D holography into everyday electronics like smart phones, computers and TVs.
Interactive 3D holograms remain a popular staple of science fiction but turning them into reality and making them thin enough to work with modern electronics has so far remained elusive.
Now a pioneering team led by RMIT University professor Min Gu has designed a nano-hologram that is simple to make, can be seen without 3D goggles and is 1000 times thinner than a human hair.
“Conventional computer-generated holograms are too big for electronic devices but our ultrathin hologram overcomes those size barriers,” Gu said. “Our nano-hologram is also fabricated using a simple and fast direct laser writing system, which makes our design suitable for large-scale uses and mass manufacture.”
Gu opines that integrating holography into everyday electronics would make screen size irrelevant – a pop-up 3D hologram can display a wealth of data that doesn’t neatly fit on a phone or watch.
Gu further stated that 3D holography has the potential to transform a range of industries – from medical diagnostics to education, data storage, defence and cyber security – and the current research brings that revolution one critical step closer to reality.
Conventional holograms modulate the phase of light to give the illusion of 3D depth. But to generate enough phase shifts, those holograms need to be at the thickness of optical wavelengths. The researchers have now broken this thickness limit with a 25 nanometer hologram based on a topological insulator material – a novel quantum material that holds the low refractive index in the surface layer but the ultrahigh refractive index in the bulk.
According to the researchers, the topological insulator thin film acts as an intrinsic optical resonant cavity, which can enhance the phase shifts for holographic imaging.
Image credits: news.com.au. Content from RMIT