Moving Holograms based on Photorefractive Polymers

Moving holograms: From science fiction to reality (w/ Video)

A team led by optical sciences professor Nasser Peyghambarian developed a new type of holographic telepresence that allows the projection of a three-dimensional, moving image without the need for special eyewear such as 3D glasses or other auxiliary devices. The technology is likely to take applications ranging from telemedicine, advertising, updatable 3D maps and entertainment to a new level.

Nasser Peyghambarian is a researcher at the University of Arizona. This is a refreshable, holographic image of an F-4 Phantom Jet created on a photorefractive polymer at the College of Optical Sciences, the University of Arizona. Credit: gargaszphotos.com/The University of Arizona

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  • Many different perspectives of the object or person (1) are captured on a series of cameras arranged in an arc or circle
  • That information is processed (2) and sent through a computer link. It could conceivably be sent anywhere in the world
  • The 3D holographic printing system (3) receives the information and drives the laser that writes the images on to the screen
  • The photosensitive polymer (4) will update every two seconds; a light is needed to illuminate the changing holograms

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Traditional holograms are printed much in the same way a poster or a painting are, in that once the image is printed on a surface, it is permanent. But a technological breakthrough at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences has brought the possibility of full color, rewritable, holographic displays and televisions one step closer to reality.

The University of Arizona

Moving Holograms: From Science Fiction to Reality | UANews.org

"Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real-time, anywhere in the world," said Peyghambarian, who led the research effort.

"Holographic stereography has been capable of providing excellent resolution and depth reproduction on large-scale 3D static images," the authors wrote, "but has been missing dynamic updating capability until now."

"At the heart of the system is a screen made from a novel photorefractive material, capable of refreshing holograms every two seconds, making it the first to achieve a speed that can be described as quasi-real-time," said Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, an assistant research professor in the UA College of Optical Sciences and lead author of the Nature paper.

The journal Nature featuring the UA holographic presence report on the cover. Parallax, or the ability to view the image from different perspectives, is one of the hallmarks of the new technology. (Image courtesy of Peyghambarian/Nature)

YouTube - Real-time holographic videos based on photorefractive polymers

The first part of the movie shows the rapid writing time of the 3D display system. It uses 6 nanosecond pulses at a repletion rate of 50Hz. It demonstrates that an image can be written in about 2 seconds.

The second part of the movie shows the concept of 3D telepresence. The 3D images of two of our researchers located in location A are sent via internet to another location B. Our 3D system at location B displays the two researchers. The movie is in real time and shows the speed of the entire process.