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February 06, 2008

Rewritable holograms will revolutionize medicine and advertising


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. Currently 4 inch by 4 inch red displays, but soon life size color displays that could still be rewritten in minutes. If they can increase the writing speed 5000 times then 3d television and movies would be possible. Full size color without special eyewear that changes every 3 minutes would be huge for advertising. In terms of giving people a day to day feeling that "the future has arrived" this will be one of those things. Full color life size holograms that can be viewed without glasses and that change every few minutes and which advertisers have placed along with every billboard and busstop and store front will be something that people will be running into dozens of times a day.

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."


The 4-inch-by-4-inch prototype display that Peyghambarian, Tay and their colleagues created now comes only in red, but the researchers believe much larger displays in full color could be developed. They next will make 1-foot-by-1-foot displays, then 3-foot-by-3-foot displays.

"We use highly efficient, low-cost recording materials capable of very large sizes, which is very important for life-size, realistic 3-D displays," Peyghambarian said. "We can record complete scenes or objects within three minutes and can store them for three hours."

The researchers also are working to write images even faster using pulsed lasers.

"If you can write faster with a pulsed laser, then you can write larger holograms in the same amount of time it now takes to write smaller ones," Tay said. "We envision this to be a life-size hologram. We could, for example, display an image of a whole human that would be the same size as the actual person."


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