A team of optical scientists lead by Nasser Peyghambarian from the University of Arizona, and by scientists from the Nitto Denko Technical Corporation, has improved the hologram. Most significantly, their device is capable of refreshing every two seconds, a hitherto impossible achievement.
Briefly, holograms rely on light interference patterns. One beam of light illuminates the object. The light scattered from this illumination is detected by the recording medium. At the same time, another beam of light strikes the recording medium. The interference pattern between the two light sources creates the hologram.
Currently, holographic recording media cannot be updated in any meaningful way. It just takes too long to generate each individual image. This new method will allow someone to send a constantly changing hologram via the Ethernet to a distant location. In addition, although holograms are currently monochromatic, the team has demonstrated the capability to make their holograms multicolor 3D displays with refresh rates that approach those of TV images.
The researchers anticipate wide use for their device in areas as divergent as business or medical presentations, 3D mapping, and entertainment.